The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) hopes to improve water supplies after it received additional funding from a Netherlands organisation to improve water and sanitation services.
BCC signed an agreement with Vitens Evides International (VEI) for the Water Worx Water Operator Partnership (WOP) Waterworx Phase II programme to run from January 1, 2022, to December 31, 2026.
VEI represents six Dutch water operators, which work in 3G water operator partnerships in 10 countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
Three of the WOP programmes are in Zimbabwe: Harare, Mutare and Bulawayo.
The first phase of the project in Bulawayo ran from 2017 to 2021 where it was implemented in Cowdray Park and provided 5 700 households with basic water services, while nearly 28 500 received safely managed water services and 1 395 people so far have benefitted from direct safely managed sanitation services.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni said the objective of the second phase is to sustainably provide water and sanitation services to all at an improved level of service whilst also accelerating knowledge exchange among other WOP partners.
“This will be achieved through ensuring institutional turnaround and improvement of utility working processes. The project will be key in making sure that strategic operational investments are done,” he said.
“The City of Bulawayo recognises the importance of the stakeholders in its operations and I am happy that the project will also assist us in the engagement of stakeholders so that we achieve water and sanitation sustainable development goals.”
The mayor added that during the second phase it is critical for the local authority to improve on technical sub-processes that improved water quality provisions.
“This includes water quality monitoring, water source protection management, energy efficiency, operation and maintenance production, water distribution planning and monitoring, district metering areas, water distribution hydraulics modelling and non-revenue water management information systems and long-term climate resilient water supply,” he said.
“The City of Bulawayo will thereafter be able to move from the current maturity level of 2.7 to a level of 4.4.”
Cllr Mguni explained that the process towards the Phase II programme planning had been ongoing for the past few months with various teams from council taking part in the water operator tool kit assessments, where the city was reviewing baseline performance and setting maturity targets in various work processes planned for implementation.
“To achieve the mandate for the second phase, there is need to pursue the three work streams namely utility process improvement, enabling environment and investment mobilisation. It is important that we consider work processes that will also make sure there is achievement of the turnaround for the City of Bulawayo.
VEI Regional Manager, Emma Lesterhuis, said the Waterworx Programme, with the BCC partnership aims to reach and sustain services to 10 million people by 2030, the target year of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“As part of this project, I visited pilot district metering areas to improve service delivery, introduced a new asset management system to improve on pro-active maintenance and investment planning and we worked to connect more than 7 000 households in Cowdray Park to water and a first part also to sewer,” she said.
“In this project, we also worked on our platform to also obtain inclusive service delivery and set up a committee to address the needs of among others, women and people with a disability.”
For the second phase, working with the different departments, the VEI regional manager said they would assess the needs and opportunities to develop a plan to make an impact.
“I am very happy and pleased to continue working on our partnership to make an impact and improve our service delivery to our citizens to make sure that people have access to water and sanitation, now and in the future,” Lesterhuis said.