The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has raised concern on the prevalence of sewer blockages resulting from the ongoing water shedding schedule, a situation that has necessitated the reintroduction of the ‘Big Flush’.
The ‘Big Flush’ is an exercise that was initiated in 2012 where residents were requested to simultaneously flush their toilets in a bid to push sewer waste that would have collected and clogged the sewer pipes.
Speaking during a water crisis main committee meeting, Council Engineer Mercy Ncube, suggested that the exercise be reintroduced and residents simultaneously flush their toilets at 0630hrs before they go to work and again in the evening at 2030hrs.
“What happens is when there is no water flowing sewer waste clogs and cakes up in sewer pipes. Residents would be required to all flush at the same time so that we are able to push the sewer waste.
“What is happening now is we have prolonged periods where we don’t have sewer flowing to reticulant plants. Waste dries up and sludges in the pipes so when water comes it causes blockages and chokes the system,” said Eng Ncube.
Acting Town Clerk Sikhangele Zhou told stakeholders to engage extensively with residents so that the dire water situation affecting the city can be managed.
Zhou encouraged residents to come up with survival strategies during this water crisis situation to prevent an outbreak of water-borne diseases.
“The country generally is water stressed. We need to come up with ways of conscientising each other of how best to survive under these circumstances. We know that water is life and it affects all of our day to day operations and mostly our health,” she said.
“It is important at this time to conserve the little water that we have but at the same time to conserve our personal hygiene measures to make sure that we do not end up having disease outbreaks. We need to ensure that as we store water for our 72 hours, although for some it may be slightly longer, we store it safely. We are going to effectively communicate with the people to make sure we are all safe.”