BY SILAS NKALA

BULAWAYO residents are likely to face more water cuts beginning Saturday as the local authority refurbishes the Criterion Water Treatment plant and the bulk water meter chambers in the distribution network.

The city currently has a 96-hour a week water-rationing programme due to low levels at its supply dams, some of which have since been decommissioned.

The prolonged water cuts have been blamed for an increase in diarrhoeal diseases, with council saying residents were either fetching water from unsafe sources or storing supplies in dirty containers.

In a notice to residents yesterday, town clerk Christopher Dube said the first interruption will be on Saturday, March 21, starting at 8am to midnight on Monday, March 23, and the second will be on Saturday, March 28, from 8am to midnight on Monday, March 30.

“The City of Bulawayo is currently implementing the Bulawayo water and sewerage services improvement project being supported by the African Development Bank, whose objective is to improve municipal water supply and sanitation services, contributing to the improvement of the health and social well-being of the population of Bulawayo,” Dube said.

“The Criterion Water Treatment Plant is currently undergoing major rehabilitation works under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project …”

He said the project involves supply, installation, testing and commissioning of raw water reservoir outlet gate valves, plant 1 inlet gate valve, actuators for the plant 1 filtration system, air dryer for the backwash air system and plant 2 pulsating air release valves.

Dube added: “During the scheduled works, the City of Bulawayo will not be carrying out any water treatment at the Criterion Water Treatment Works, thereby impacting on the levels at both the Criterion Clear and Magwegwe reservoirs and the targeted areas will not be supplied with water.

“The City of Bulawayo has, however, put in mitigation measures to minimise the impact of the interruptions to the residents and this will be through ensuring that the water reservoirs are at maximum level before the shutdown, and by synchronising the works to the water-(rationing) programme.”

The town clerk said new supply bulk meters would be installed at the bulk meter chambers supplying Pelandaba/ Iminyela, Kelvin North and Magwegwe Booster Station to reduce leakages.

“These works include the replacement of the non-functional isolation valves, new strainers and new bulk flow meters. These works aim to improve the operation of system and fair distribution of water by replacing the non-functional fittings. Moreover, these interventions aim to reduce non-revenue water (water losses) within the targeted areas by replacing the non-functional bulk meters that will enable accurate monitoring of supplied water into each area,” Dube said.

“Residents are advised that during the shutdown periods, council will suspend the current water-(rationing) programme …”