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BCC mulls reintroducing the’Big Flush’

The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is mulling the reintroduction of the Big Flush as a way to manage sewer blockages at a time when the city is experiencing crippling water shortages.

The ‘Bing Flush` was first mooted in 2012 after the local authority asked residents to flush their toilets simultaneously at 7.30pm after 72-hour water cuts so as to prevent clogging, which damages the city’s sewer infrastructure.

The directive attracted international attention with major news outlets such as BBC running the story.

According to latest council minutes, Director of Engineering Services Engineer Simela Dube reported to the Future water supplies and water action committee that the city would reintroduce the big flush and the Blue Monday campaign if shedding persists for more than 72hrs.

Currently, the local authority has implemented a citywide 48-hour water shedding schedule.

On Tuesday, BCC introduced an emergency 96-hour water shedding schedule which has left residents without water until Friday.

“The Director of Engineering Services submitted (29th May 2019) the following water conservation strategies for consideration; Blue Monday reintroduction to conscientize the public on the water conservation and the big flush campaign if shedding persists for more than 72hrs to manage sewer blockages,” read the minutes.

Again in 2012, the local authority introduced the Blue Monday Water conservation campaign with the aim to create an understanding and appreciation of the water crisis in Bulawayo and also engage all stakeholders in the city by bringing awareness to the water challenges facing the city.

Eng Dube said BCC would also use media to conscientize residents on water conservation.

“Council will carry out various awareness campaigns on water conservation using various media platforms through Public Relations. All media platforms are to be used to ensure the water crisis message is spread around e.g. SMS, social media, electronic media among others.”

He said there would be continuous engagements with all relevant stakeholders through the current platforms like the water crisis forums, WASH, NGOs and all other platforms that could be used for this purpose.

Observers say the city’s water problems can only be solved by the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, which has been a century in the planning, but this is a long-term solution and immediate remedies were needed.

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