By Albert Nxumalo
Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has sought funding from central Government to bankroll a contentious project that seeks to purify and re-use water from Khami Dam with officials stressing that the water would meet the required standards, a council report shows.
The city has long indicated its desire to purify the water for secondary consumption that includes industrial and commercial usage.
Feasibility study on recycled Khami Dam water was halted due to Covid-19 that has seen many projects being suspended, officials said.
Khami Dam is almost full and it is estimated that the city could get between seven and 10 additional megalitres a day from the dam.
According to the latest report by the Future Water Supplies and Water Action Committee tabled before a full monthly meeting on Wednesday, councillors asked management on when the project would start signalling their eagerness for the re-use of water.
Passing a resolution on the project, the city fathers said residents should be broadly consulted on the controversial project.
“That re-use of Khami Dam water be considered and that the concept be adopted with Community engagements being carried out prior,” reads a recommendation.
According to the report, the council is confident that the purified water would meet required standards.
“Regarding the Khami Dam Project there was need to modify the plan and blend the water with that was coming from Criterion Water Works mainly for secondary use on to acceptable consumption standards.
“Thus water from Khami blended with that from Criterion would meet required standards. There was available technology to treat even servicing water to acceptable world consumption standards,” reads the report.
Contributing to the debate, Town Clerk, Christopher Dube advised on the importance to engage residents and “give assurance that Khami water would be safe for drinking after treatment”.
“He was confident that it was possible to treat the water to meet the required standards. The project had already been submitted to Government for funding,” Dube is quoted saying.
The amount sought was not indicated.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) which is funding the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP), is also funding the feasibility study for the use of Khami Dam water.
Council has been forced to impose a five-day weekly water-shedding programme in a bid to conserve the dwindling supplies that have dropped to slightly below 30 percent.
The water situation spells disaster for Bulawayo residents who are expected to maintain high levels of hygiene amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Constantly washing hands reduces chances of infection.
Some residents in high lying suburbs such as Magwegwe have gone for more than a month without receiving any tap water and the situation is getting desperate by the day.