CHENGETAI MURIMWA IN BULAWAYO
Crippling power outages could force the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to abandon its plan to lift water rationing in the country’s second largest city, Business Times can report.
Bulawayo Mayor, Solomon Mguni, this week said power outages continue to disrupt the pumping of water, a situation which might force the local authority to shelve its plan to lift the punitive water rationing.
The city has been operating under a weekly 144-hour water rationing programme.
“I am happy to note that it is the City’s intention to suspend water shedding earlier than scheduled. However, the current and regular power outages continue to disrupt continuous pumping, destabilising some of the sensitive reservoirs such as Tuli and Magwegwe,” Mguni said.
Mguni said the city experienced the highest water consumption of 157 megalitres (ML) on February 21, a spike that “coupled with power outages at both Femhill and Cowdray Park, resulted in the Tuli and Magwegwe reservoirs collapsing”.
“In light of the above, may I call the residents of Bulawayo to continue saving water so as to reduce our average consumption to match our water supply,” he said.
The city’s supply dams have received significant inflows in recent weeks and the water levels have risen to about 64% on average.
This resulted in some improvements in the city’s water situation.
“Raw water pumping from the first set of Flow-serve and the Sulzer pumps has remained stable delivering an average of 85 ML a day. In addition, the clear water to Tuli Reservoir from Ncema Water treatment plant is averaging 35 ML per day,” Mguni said.
“We are also glad to announce that the coming on-line of the Epping Forest, combined with output from the Rochester scheme in Nyamandlovu is expected to supply an additional groundwater of about 15ML per day going forward.”
He added: “From the above sources, the aggregated water supply into the city is now averaging 135 ML per day against the average consumption of 120ML per day which is adequate to start refilling the city’s distribution reservoirs and be able to fully charge the water recirculation system.”
Mguni said as the water reticulation system adjusts to a 24/7 situation, some areas might experience water cuts due to pipe bursts.
“Residents are being urged to continue to conserve water, sticking to the daily allocations so as to enable the system to remain stable and supply everyone with water,” the mayor appealed.