Consultants dispute Byo water crisis

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THERE are disagreements over the state of the water crisis here after independent engineering consultants contracted by the government to offer a second opinion disputed council’s position.

Consultants said the three remaining supply dams, namely Insiza Mayfair, Inyankuni and Mtshabezi have adequate water that can last the city for up to 14 months.

This comes at a time the City of Bulawayo revealed that residents will now be receiving running water once a week after decommissioning Lower Ncema Dam yesterday, with the local authority further indicating that the supply dams are at 29,98 percent full.

The decommissioning Lower Ncema after Umzingwane and Upper Ncema has left the city with only 60-65 mega litres(ML) per day of raw water available from the remaining supply dams and Nyamandlovu aquifer.

This is against a daily demand which averages 155ML/day against the maximum available raw water of 94 ML/day.
As a result of the gap between demand and supply of 59ML/day, the city has been on water shedding since February last year, with council gradually increasing hours from 48 to the current 120 per week.

On Friday, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) met with Local Government minister July Moyo and his deputy Marian Chombo, Water deputy minister Douglas Karoro, Finance deputy minister Clemence Chiduwa among others where the consultants delivered their findings.

The meeting was meant to guide the Water ministry on whether or not to declare the water crisis a state of national emergency.

Presenting his findings, Paul Kruger said the water crisis is not the absence of water but the technical ability to pump the available water from the dams to residents.

“If I use Insiza Mayfair at the current mega litres per day, it will mean I have 5,1 months of water available just from the dam. I am not saying I am capable of bringing that water here but that water body is there.
“If Inyankuni was to supply the City of Bulawayo by itself at a rate of a 150 megalitres per day, that will give us five months of water.
“If I looked into Mtshabezi, we could actually have 3,6 months of water. If we put these together, we actually have 14 months of water supply, leaving each dam with 20.
“The bottom line is, is the water actually here? The good news is the water is here … The water is in the system. The challenge is in getting the water.
“We are not under crisis for water. The crisis is to get the water in town, that is the difference. The water is there in abundance … but we cannot get the water into town. That is our predominant issue here,” Kruger said.

Krugar also pointed out the local authority’s failure to properly plan on how to pump water from each dam at the beginning of each rainy season, a development he said puts pressure on the system when council begins to decommission dams.

He noted that the city fathers have drawn “way too much water from Upper and Lower Ncema Dams,” risking pumping dirtier water to residents.

“In the future, we need to understand that Lower and Upper Ncema Insiza Mayfair, Inyankuni and Mtshabezi is one water body.

“At the beginning of each rainy season, you need to decide what percentage — based on the volume of each dam so that we finish the season with water at the exact same level.

“When we bring out one system out of the entire system altogether it puts more pressure on the infrastructure- engines, pipes and pumps to supply the shortfall,” he added.

Following Kruger’s findings, Moyo said it was clear that Bulawayo has not run out of water yet the city needs water.
Moyo directed the consultants, engineers from council, Zinwa and Water ministry to meet and come up with an agreed technical work process that needs to be implemented to ensure the perennial water crisis is permanently addressed.

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