Zinwa starts rehabilitating 22 Nyamandlovu Aquifer boreholes Dr Anxious Masuka

Nqobile Bhebhe, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has started rehabilitating part of the 22 broken boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to restore the volume pumped to Bulawayo to 16 megalitres per day and help ease the prevailing water shortages.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries, and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, revealed this on Friday as he has noted with concern the drop in the Nyamandlovu Aquifer water supply system to about five megalitres per day against a potential of 26 megalitres per day.

The reduced supply, attributed to the broken-down boreholes at both Rochester and Epping Forest, comes at a time when some suburbs in Bulawayo have gone for nearly two weeks without water, forcing some to resort to unsafe water sources, which increases the risk of water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.

Speaking during the unveiling of a 20-member Bulawayo Water Technical Committee last Friday, Dr Masuka said the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has started rehabilitating the boreholes using internal resources.

“The 22 broken boreholes need rehabilitation to restore the supply to the City of Bulawayo to 16ML/day. Additional electrical protection is required for both the functional boreholes and the currently non-functional ones to reduce failures due to electrical supply-related faults such as low voltage, power surges, and low current,” he said.

The minister said there was also a need for the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company to promptly attend to faults affecting the power supply at Nyamandlovu.

The exemption of the Nyamandlovu boreholes and pump station, as well as the Cowdray Park booster station from load-shedding, will also ensure a consistent supply of water to Bulawayo and Nyamandlovu.

Dr Masuka said the Nyamandlovu water system comprises networks of 40 boreholes at Rochester, which pump water to central reservoirs at the Rochester pump station.

The Rochester system has an estimated safe yield of 10ML per day, which is reserved for use by the local farmers at Rochester.

Another network is 20 boreholes at Epping Forest supplying another 10ML/day, which is conveyed to the Rochester pump station through a 7,5 kilometre pipeline.

The water from Rochester and Epping Forest is conveyed to Cowdray Park booster station through a 38km by 600m AC pipeline.

The Cowdray Park booster station pumps all the water from Nyamandlovu to the Magwegwe Reservoir for further distribution in the city.

The water from Nyamandlovu is combined with water from Criterion waterworks at Magwegwe reservoirs where it is distributed to the residents in the western suburbs.

Bulawayo residents continue to endure prolonged water cuts, sometimes more than a week in some suburbs, at a time when some parts of the country are experiencing an outbreak of cholera and diarrhoea.

The situation is worsened by the vandalism of transformers and boreholes at Epping Forest and Nyamandlovu, which has reduced the pumping capacity from 20ML to 4ML. Estimates indicate this has affected 60 000 residents who rely on water from the aquifer.

The vandalism of electricity and water infrastructure has been described as a national security threat, and last year the Government set up an inter-ministerial committee to find a lasting solution to the issue.

While the completion of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani is expected to bring a lasting solution to Bulawayo’s water woes, the Government has been pumping resources to rehabilitate boreholes at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to augment bulk water supplies from dams, which continue to receive inadequate inflows due to adverse climate change effects.

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