Byo water woes force United Refineries to suspend operations

Bulawayo water woes which have been escalating since early in the year, owing to poor rains received in the past two consecutive seasons have led to the closure of one the city’s flagship companies, United Refineries Limited (URL).

Zimbabwe’s second largest city is going through its worst water crisis in history that is seeing residents having running water in tapes once a week if fortunate and for only a few hours.

At times the schedule gets disrupted by power faults and other related factors resulting in residents going for many days without the precious liquid.

The city fathers maintain that the central business district, industry and mines remain exempted from water-shedding.

However, the URL case now shows the further deterioration of the situation.

In a statement dated November 3, 2020 URL management announced the suspension of operations as a result of limited water supply.

“We regret to inform our customers, suppliers and stakeholders that we have had limited water supplies to our factory for the last 7 days and the situation has not improved,” bemoaned the company.

“As a result we have had to temporarily suspend our factory operations as we await the situation to normalise.”

With former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president, Busisa Moyo, at its helm, URL manufactures cooking oil, soaps and other products.

“We continue to engage Bulawayo City Council (BCC) with regard to returning the situation to normality,” said company management.

“We are aware this is happening as we prepare for the festive season stocking programmes and promotions.”

Moyo also confirmed to CITE they had indeed suspended operations.

“Unfortunately, we can’t produce; we have suspended production,” he said. 

“We don’t have water; asilamanzi. We haven’t had water for seven days”. 

He said with the help of BCC, they had been bowsing water but that has proved to be unsustainable for a company employing about 400 people. 

He said the situation was becoming risky in light of Covid-19 and other health issues.

“For a factory like this we need piped water,” emphasized Moyo.

“Without water we can’t produce and we hope that something can be resolved. This water situation has remained outstanding for a long time. I think we were warned in May as you know and it is November now. We have been fortunate that we managed to keep going but now we can’t.”

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