Bulawayo City Council (BCC) will decommission two of its supply dams due to low water levels with the local authority contemplating reintroducing water-shedding, to manage water supplies to the city.
According to the latest council report, Umzingwane Dam is likely to be decommissioned on 5 June 2022 and Upper Ncema on 14 August 2022.
According to the report of the future water supplies and water action committee on the status of water resources, the Acting Director of Engineering Services Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube said there was a need to implement water shedding as Council dams no longer had the capacity to provide water on a full-time basis.
“Criterion reservoir water levels were going down, Nyamandlovu had constantly been affected by electricity power cuts and seven transformers had been stolen,” read the report.
Meanwhile, the Town Clerk, Christopher Dube advised on the need to inform all stakeholders of the water situation and prepare them for the proposed water-shedding before implementation.
Eng Ncube explained that the contractors at the Gwayi Shangani project were working night shifts with the expectation that Bulawayo would receive water by December 2022.
He also revealed that Council engineers had a problem with the treatment plant which the government (through ZINWA) had planned to set up at Cowdray Park.
“This would be very expensive for Council in terms of water pumping costs. It was wiser to channel the water straight to Criterion Water Works as it had capacity as well as it had room for expansion. The water works in Cowdray Park was in the water master plan but it included a pipe to Criterion which would enable distribution by gravity,” read the report.
However, Councillor Tinevimbo Maphosa said Council engineers should be included in the whole process so that a solution that is best for the Bulawayo residents was found.
In addition, Alderman Siboniso Khumalo raised concern about channelling water to Criterion as it would not solve the persisting challenges in Pumula.
“He supported the idea of a treatment plant in Cowdray Park so that western suburbs could benefit. It would also be an advantage for the city to have another water treatment plant in anticipation of the growth of Bulawayo,” read the report.
Ward 17 councillor Sikhululekile Moyo said Council should engage Government in the involvement of Council engineers in the planning and implementation of the project as it would subsequently be handed over to the local authority.
The Town Clerk advised that Council was in support of the Gwayi – Shangani project and was engaging the government with the request that government involves the Council in the project, especially on the issue of the location of the pump station.