Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has started pumping water to Bulawayo from the Epping Forest project delivering 13,7 megalitres on Wednesday night in a major breakthrough towards easing the water crisis in the city.
While the 13,7 megalitres were delivered under a test run to assess system’s efficiency, the parastatal yesterday said it will be continuously supplying water to Bulawayo starting from next week.
Zinwa is involved in a crucial water rehabilitation project under the Government’s $205 million for Bulawayo’s water augmentation scheme.
The funds were released after President Mnangagwa directed that the city’s water crisis be attended to as a matter of urgency.
The project involves rehabilitation, equipping and connecting to power 10 boreholes at Epping Forest in Nyamandlovu to deliver 10 megalitres per day to Bulawayo at a cost of US$1,5 million or $130 million.
Once completed Bulawayo will revert to the 144-hour weekly water shedding which will result in residents receiving water twice a week as opposed to the obtaining situation where they are getting it once in seven days.
The city is experiencing the worst water crisis in modern times and the disaster has created multi-layered problems for residents and the business sector.
The water crisis has led to a diarrhoea outbreak that killed 13 people, infected more than 2 000 and it is now threatening the city’s industries.
On Monday Zinwa said it was waiting for Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company to connect power to the Epping Forest project and on Wednesday it posted on Twitter that the power utility company had installed electricity.
“The pumping and water conveyance lines are now fully electrified and being test run under pressure. So far, no challenges have been detected along the system,” read the post.
Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga yesterday said the Epping Forest will steadily deliver water to Bulawayo in the coming week.
“The tests we are conducting are already supplying water to Bulawayo. As we test, we are actually delivering water to the reservoirs. The system runs on electricity and this means we can now sustainably pump water to BCC from Epping Forest. Last night (Wednesday) we pumped 13,7 (ML) as we are testing and subjecting our system to all stress to ensure efficiency,” said Mrs Munyonga.
“We are on course with regards to our timelines. Next week we will be pumping from seven boreholes and by the 15th of December we will be done with the whole project.”
BCC director of engineering services Engineer Simela Dube said council was looking forward to Zinwa to sustainably provide water to Bulawayo.
“At the moment they were just testing but when they are done we will just get an additional 10ML per day. It does not solve our problems, it just reduces the pressure we are having. We will go back to the 144-hour weekly water shedding schedule,” said Eng Dube. Due to the deepening water crisis where consumption outweighs council’s pumping capacity, the local authority is implementing the provisional water supply restoration strategy where a handful of suburbs receive water for at least 12 hours in a week.
Bulawayo uses approximately 150ML of water per day when the water situation is normal but the depleted water levels at the city’s dams resulted in council tightening the water shedding exercise to manage dwindling supplies. — @nqotshili.