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2 drums a day water limit for Bulawayans

by Staff reporter
16 May 2021 at 09:47hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council has with immediate effect suspended water connections to vacant, incomplete stands and some areas outside the city in a bid to save water as the local authority fears high consumption could lead to another crippling water shortage.

Council has also announced water limits for various areas that will see some households limited to just two drums of water per day or face punitive penalties.

The development comes amid fears of an outbreak of new cases of diarrhea as water contamination has been reported in Emganwini where teams have been dispatched to investigate the cases.

In a statement yesterday, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said water consumption levels in the city have gone up and council has been forced to come up with daily limits for all areas while suspending connection to incomplete stands and some areas outside the city.

Apart from Bulawayo, council also supplies water to a number of areas outside its boundaries like Matopos, Esigodini and other peri -urban areas. Mr Dube said the city was now consuming 156 mega litres (ML) a day against the water rationing limit of 135ML/day.

"The dam levels as of Saturday 15 May 2021, are at 66.96 percent. However, an analysis of Systems Input Volume against City Consumption from March 2021 to date is indicating that the demand is very high at 156ML/day against the water rationing limit of 135ML/day," said Mr Dube.

Mr Dube said council will only connect water to fully built properties until further notice. He said the local authority had been undertaking a 72-hour water shedding programme to residents owing to power supply interruptions at Criterion Waterworks which affected treatment and delivery of water to the city.

Low density houses are now required to use a maximum of 650 litres per day while high density areas must use 459 litres per day. Residential flats with individual meters must stick to 400 litres per day which is about two drums.

He said council will levy a penalty of $167 per kilolitre for residents who will use above the stipulated levels.

Meanwhile, council said it has started connecting water to Cowdray Park suburb which had gone for several years without water and seeing the city losing over US$50 000 in non-revenue water due to the number of households that remain unconnected to the system. An estimated 12 000 households are yet to be connected to water and sewer systems in the city's biggest suburb. Residents that want water connected to their homes are requested to pay $147.87.

"Pay a total of US$22.97 for water connection while sewer connection fee is US$17.30 or at the prevailing bank rate at any Revenue Office," said Mr Dube.

Residents that owe any outstanding amounts for their development levies are also being advised not to worry about the debt as they can approach council for payment plans. "In case you do not have the funds readily available, council will do the water connections and you can pay later. The water connection fee will be debited to your account," said Mr Dube.

Following the completion of procedures, water will be connected in 14 days. In another development related to the city's mounting water problems, residents in Emganwini have reported cases of stomach ailments which they have blamed on water contamination. Council corporate communications manager Mrs Nesisa Mpofu confirmed the cases saying they had since dispatched teams to investigate the issue.

"The City of Bulawayo did receive reports of water quality complaints from the Emganwini suburb and dispatched teams to investigate. In the meantime, we are ensuring continuous uninterrupted water supply in the area, while the teams check on the water pipes supplying the area. We are also intensifying attendance to sewer bursts, water bursts and water leaks in the area as a precautionary measure. We encourage residents to boil their water for potable use," said Mrs Mpofu.

In terms of possible solutions to the issue, the council spokesperson revealed that council requires US$390 million, if the water infrastructure requirements in the city were to be addressed as per projected Water Master Plan strategy.

"Using own funds, council is clearing sewer chokes across the city on An-as-and-When-required basis contract. One-year contracts are being finalised for three (3) contractors who will be split into zones, two contractors on dredging and winching and the third on emptying and clearing of Sand-traps across the City. These contracts are expected to be operational till March 2022. Over and above this strategy, council's own sewer teams are on the ground clearing sewers. The residents are advised not to abuse the sewer system since in most cases, objects removed from blockages should never be found in the sewer system," said Mrs Mpofu.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has also taken samples of water in some of the city's suburbs for laboratory testing following last year cases of diarrhea outbreaks, illness and deaths to establish the cause of contaminated water consumed by some residents.

BPRA coordinator Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu said they had since embarked on a programme of collecting water samples in the city which they send to various laboratories for testing. "The teams were dispatched to these areas to conduct awareness and education campaigns on water safety and storage. The results we obtained from these samples were unsatisfactory indicating that underground piping of sewage and water pipe might have busted leading to water becoming contaminated," said Mr Ndlovu.

Source - sundaymail

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