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Brace for more shutdowns, Council warns residents

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has warned residents to brace for yet another 72-hour water shedding schedule in November to facilitate for more rehabilitation works at one of the city`s major water treatment plants, Criterion Water Works.

The local authority recently suspended its 48-hour water shedding programme owing to the normalisation of the water supply distribution system following major rehabilitation works at Criterion.

Speaking during a water crisis committee meeting held in Council chambers on Thursday, the city director of engineering services, Engineer Simela Dube said they anticipate more shutdowns in the coming months.

“There are other shutdowns that will happen because we did not do the valves like when we did criterion, one of the valves that were meant to be done was not done because raw water valves could not close so we had to prioritise the raw water valves, so it means we have to replace one metre valves at criterion, so we expect that shut down around November,” he said.

Engineer Dube said they expect to lose two more supply dams, Lower Ncema and Umzingwane in November, a situation that is likely to further compound the city`s water woes.

“Ncema dam is going out in November, maybe we can just pick this date as the date when we will run out of raw water and we can try to marry that with some of the shutdowns that will come,” Eng. Dube said.

He said when the authority loses Umzingwane and Ncema dams in November the system will only be able to sustain about 132 megalitres (ML) which is below the daily demand of 150ML.

“When we were shedding our average was about 130ML which I am asking that even now after carrying out the shedding let us maintain that. If we do not shed our average will be about 150 megalitres this is what we want to manage.

“And when we lose Umzingwane dam in November our system will only be able to sustain about 132 ML meaning we have to continue with water conversation going forward,” he said.

Engineer Dube said residents have to use water within the limits.

“Currently we have means that we have put in place which the council might consider going forward. Currently, limits for high-density areas is 450 litres for each house per day, low-density areas is 650L per day, while residential flats with individual meters should not use more than 400 litres a day,” he said.

“Along the way we supply Matopos, Esigodini and Llewelyn which are on 75% of rationing and also Umzingwane irrigators is at 65% of their consumption meaning these are areas that are saying let’s try and stick to those water limits per day before going on forced rationing.

Engineer Dube said they have lined up major works as a means to improve water supplies in the city.

“Major projects are expected to be carried out, we need to link our Mtshabezi and Incema dam so that at least we draw water directly from Mtshabezi via Umzingwane, those are projects that we think we might have to raise awareness on as means of urgency,” he said.

Meanwhile, Engineer Dube said they will be working on a study to see if secondary water can actually meet the secondary demand that industry requires instead of using clean water.

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