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No water for all Bulawayo suburbs

by Staff reporter
30 Aug 2020 at 08:31hrs | Views
FOR the first time in many years, all suburbs in Bulawayo will at the same time go without tapped water until further notice, a situation that will compound water woes among the city's nearly one million residents.

Since the city started facing water challenges early this year, it has been introducing tight water distribution regimes that have seen some suburbs receiving water one day a week. A few weeks ago, council announced a further tightening when it announced that it will only avail tapped water as and when it is available. However, in a new development, both the eastern and western suburbs in the entire city will with immediate effect go without water at the same time, probably the first time this has ever happened.

In a statement yesterday, Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said council has been forced to cut supplies in the whole of the city except the Central Business District (CBD), industry and mines, due to the electricity challenges at their reservoirs. "The City of Bulawayo would like to advise the public of water supply interruption city wide. The interruption is due to loss of electricity on both the Nyamandlovu-Cowdray Park line feeding Magwegwe Reservoir and the Ncema-Fernhill line feeding Tuli and Criterion reservoirs. All the suburbs in the eastern and western areas are closed except for the Central Business District, industry and mines. In light of that consumers are further advised that if electricity is restored, the system will need time to build up and stabilise. Council will advise accordingly as to which areas will be opened as soon as the system normalises," said Mr Dube.

Meanwhile, a National University of Science and Technology academic and water expert, Dr Lerato Nare has come to the defence of the local authority's proposed move to recycle Khami Dam water for reuse by residents. Council recently conducted water tests for Khami Dam and results showed that the quality of the water is similar to that of Ncema Dam and meets Standard Association of Zimbabwe and World Health Organisation (WHO) raw water specifications.

Residents have previously objected to council's proposals to recycle Khami Dam water, arguing that it is polluted by human waste but council insists that advanced technologies can be employed to purify it. Speaking during a virtual seminar to commemorate World Water Week organised by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, Dr Nare said a lot of countries were already recycling sewerage water as the technologies were now available.

"All water at some point gets dirty and water treatment is expected to remove all those impurities and get the water to what we drink. The rain water that we see is actually water that has gone through God's treatment plant, which is evaporation, therefore Khami water can be treated like any other water. The City of Johannesburg is actually recycling sewerage water, it is the degree of treatment that matters. What council has to just deal with is residents' mindset through education. I honestly do not see why we are not using water from Khami because worldwide cities are recycling this very water, besides water from that dam is mainly polluted and the systems are there to address such," said Dr Nare

Speaking at the same meeting, BCC Director of Engineering Services, Engineer Simela Dube said there was a need for people to be open minded when it comes to the issue of Khami Dam, reiterating, Dr Nare's sentiments that there were now technologies to treat such water.

"We can talk of Khami Dam water being polluted but let us not forget that even in our current catchment areas of Umzingwane and Ncema, livestock are dying and when it rains the rain washes all these carcasses to the dams but we manage to treat it, so the water that is in Ncema and that in Khami are largely similar in terms of pollution but emphasis is on treatment. There are technologies that are in place that can assist us. What most people see and are quick to raise a red flag is the green slug that is there but with technology it can be treated using aeraters to oxidise the top layer but the truth is that in terms of quality that dam matches the water from Ncema Dam," said Eng Dube.

Source - sundaynews
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