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Bulawayo 100% dry as industry, CBD water supply is cut

By Vusumuzi Dube

The Bulawayo water crisis has reached another level with councils indicating that it will cut off supplies to the Central Business District (CBD) and industrial areas for the first time, rendering the whole city dry.

Bulawayo City Centre
Bulawayo City Centre

Council had exempted the two key economic areas from water cuts after implementing a devastating water shedding programme which has seen most suburbs go for weeks without water, with other areas getting water for a few hours a single day once a week.

However, it is the latest announcement that will send shivers even in the industrial corners, as water is key in most companies’ operations. Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube yesterday said the city has not been treating water since Friday owing to a power surge that was experienced.

“The City of Bulawayo would like to inform residents of a power surge which occurred at the Criterion Water Treatment Plant late on Friday disrupting the water treatment process.

Currently no treatment is taking place at Criterion. Further to that, Cowdray Park Booster Station on the Nyamandlovu line that supplies the Magwegwe Reservoir also lost power on Saturday (yesterday).

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In that regard, the water supply is closed for the whole city till such a time when power is restored,” said Mr Dube.

The Town Clerk said a Zesa subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Distribution Company (ZETDC) was currently working on rectifying the problems to ensure resumption of water treatment at Criterion and pumping of water on the Nyamandlovu line.

“Members of the public are advised that the Provisional Daily Water Supply Restoration Schedule will be reviewed in line with reservoir levels upon completion of the works by ZETDC and balancing of the water supply reservoirs,” he said.

ZETDC has, however, hit back saying instead of playing the blame game the local authority must focus on filling its water reservoirs.

ZETDC acting general manager, Engineer Lovemore Chinaka in an interview with Sunday News yesterday laughed off the local authority’s sentiments saying it was unfair for one organisation to blame its failures on another entity.

“It is a known fact that BCC has failed to maintain levels at its reservoirs due to a number of reasons hence they are now operating from hand to mouth, but in a normal scenario, the city must fill up their reservoirs such that even if power goes for a full day they can still operate.

What we must consider is that we cannot guarantee electricity at 100 percent because there are some eventualities like lightning and cable theft, hence the local authority must have a contingency plan in place not always playing the blame game,” said Eng Chinaka.

Some suburbs in the city, including parts of Pumula and Nkulumane, have since February gone without supplies, with the council indicating that it will only be able to supply water if its supply dams receive enough water during the coming rainy season.

Last week, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) revealed that they were now working 24 hours a day on the Government funded Epping Forest Borehole Project in Nyamandlovu, a move meant to ease water problems in Bulawayo by end of November.The Sunday News