Byo sets April deadline for Glass Block Dam feasibility

Bulawayo Mayor, Senator David Coltart, has announced that the city council aims to complete the necessary feasibility studies for the proposed Glass Block Dam by the end of April.

The project is considered a potential mid-term solution to address the city’s water shortages, which have forced residents to endure a 120-hour water-shedding schedule due to the current dam capacity sitting at only 43%.

Senator Coltart announced during a community meeting hosted by Project Vote 263, where he discussed plans for service delivery in Bulawayo.

“We’ve been trying to build the Glass Block Dam, but the government has stated they lack the necessary funds,” Senator Coltart explained. “Therefore, to move forward, we need to collaborate with the private sector.”

“We are actively working on this and have set an end-of-April deadline to finalise two feasibility studies,” he continued. “One will focus on the engineering aspects of constructing the dam and pipeline, including expanding the pipeline and the capacity of the Ncema Treatment Works and Tuli Reservoir. The other study will assess the project’s financial viability.”

Senator Coltart emphasized the crucial role of the private sector: “The underlying principle is that we need to involve the private sector. We aim to secure private funding for the dam and pipeline construction by offering future water supplies in return. The private sector would be funded through water purchases by Bulawayo consumers over the next 20 to 40 years. We believe this is a viable financial model that can significantly improve service delivery.”

He acknowledged the dam’s initial feasibility study was conducted in 1988, but progress has been slow since then.

“Incredibly, the first feasibility study was conducted in 1988,” Senator Coltart said. “The study identified the area as a suitable location for a dam. Upon completion, the dam is expected to provide 70% of the total water currently supplied by our six existing dams combined.”

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