Byo water crisis needs urgent solution: MPs

Members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing say the water crisis in Bulawayo needs to be treated with the urgency it deserves.

The committee and the Thematic Committee on Peace and Security both led by Senator Chief Ngungumbane were on a fact-finding mission in Bulawayo following the outbreak of a diarrhoea disease that has claimed 13 lives.

Speaking to CITE, Shamva South MP Bramwell Bushu said with the city’s dam level seating at 26 percent the water challenges in Bulawayo need to be treated with urgency. 

“As a committee in Local Government we have interest in ensuring that the water problems in Bulawayo are given adequate attention, so like the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) engineer said he requires funding for certain projects, and if you look at it within the next two to three months most of that will be sorted maybe outside the Nyamandlovu aquifer drilling which is a bit complicated,” said Mp Bushu. 

“But with 26 percent water dam levels it means that this thing has to be treated with the urgency it deserves.” 

He said the committee wants to see the water crisis in Bulawayo sorted in the shortest possible time.

“As the committee on local government  when it was clear that there were serious water problems after our initial visit and some of which resulted in  the diarrhoea outbreak, we called in the Minister of local government (July Moyo) to explain to us  what he is doing to control the situation in Bulawayo and to ensure that the situation in Bulawayo improves and not just in the short term but in the long term, what he told us was that the water situation in Bulawayo was being sorted through the improvement in the capacities of  dams  that are currently supplying,  Gwaii  dam project is completed and  the extraction of water through boreholes from the Nyamandlovu aquifer,” he said. 

Speaking during a meeting with Bulawayo City Council (BCC) officials on Monday, ZINWA Umzingwane catchment manager, Tony Rosen, said they need about US$1.5 million to complete some projects to increase water supplies to Bulawayo.   

“We are going to equip all those 20 boreholes then we are going to do all the interconnecting pipes from those boreholes to two reservoirs at Epping Forest and we will be able to pump to Rochester which will then give the City an additional 10ML/day,” said Rosen. 

“The cost for that we estimated US$1.5 million, we had the visit to the site by both Ministry of Local Government and Ministry of Finance and when they visited the site, indications were that they were saying definitely the fund will be made available because they saw the urgency of the project but to date we haven’t received any funding for Epping Forest.” 

Rosen added: “On Rochester I would say we are about 85 percent complete, if materials come through, we would finish that in a month. I would put Epping Forest at about 70 percent and the time scale will very much depend on drilling of boreholes.”

BCC director or engineering services Engineer Simela Dube said there is an urgent need to get the Epping Forest functional before the hot season.

“We still  remain not getting anything from Epping Forest which we believe could assist us in balancing the system and it will be critical that we have it functional before the hot season sets in because like we are saying the pipeline is there, the pump house is there, pump for pumping from Nyamandlovu to Bulawayo is there but what is outstanding is 10 boreholes to be drilled and 20 to be equipped and connected to the reservoir which we believe it’s a project that can be done progressively, if five boreholes are connected it will make a difference before all the 20 are actually putin place. So we need a speedy implementation of that project at least to assist,” said Engineer Dube.

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