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Council to consult residents on Khami Dam water

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) will soon approach residents and other stakeholders to table its proposal to treat Khami Dam water for human consumption.

The local authority desperately needs all available water sources to increase supply to residents.

With dam water levels currently at 28 percent, Bulawayo has to pursue several projects to increase its raw water availability and these include recycling Khami contaminated water.

If purified and treated, Khami Dam water can provide an additional 12 megalitres of water per day, of which BCC says if funds are availed, the project will be ready in the next six months.

“Council has taken a position and we have resolution. We are saying let’s pursue the issue of Khami as a source of portable water for the city. We now need to go the people and convince them the water can be purified and used as portable water without problems provided there is adequate treatment,” said Bulawayo Town Clerk, Christopher Dube at a press briefing held Thursday at the council chambers.

Residents have been objecting to the idea of using Khami Dam, refusing to accept that sewer water could be purified.

But the town clerk said the city is looking for additional sources of water and Khami Dam was a viable option.

“I know this will bring confusion and more talking, as has been the case before. But if we receive the money we proposed to government – US$15 million the recycled water project can be executed in six months, then we have an additional 12 megalitres per day,” Dube said.

Dube noted that recycling of contaminated water was not new, as it was done in other areas.

“In Harare, water bodies are heavily contaminated. I am not talking ill of the capital city but saying facts. The Harare council purifies water for drinking and if you were to see the level of pollution in Khami, it is purifiable. All the water bodies are polluted and need some form of purification. What is needed is the degree of purification that is required,” he said.

“Last year, I with the council management team visited a site in Durban (South Africa), we saw water that was purified and recycled. That water was more polluted than water in Khami. The water in Khami can actually be purified and used for portable purposes.”

Dube added that it was necessary to recycle Khami Dam water because Bulawayo needed every available drop of water.

“We will continue to work with government as they give us short term solutions and we will also pursue medium-term projects that will stretch the very little drop that we have in case rains don’t come,” he said.

On the availability of water treatment chemicals, the town clerk assured residents there would be availed.

“In as much as Harare water bodies are heavily polluted they continue to purify and continue to acquire water treatment chemicals. The government has been very supportive in that area and international partners such as UNICEF will also be coming on board and helping us. So the issue of chemicals is neither here nor there, what is important is to acquire raw water, the purification we can access. If the government was to support us, six months from now, we can have the water purification,” Dube said.

BCC Director of Engineering Services, Simela Dube concurred that the recycling water of Khami Dam would be a project worth pursuing, as 12 megalitres of water per day was substantial.

BCC Director of Engineering Services Engineer Simela Dube

“Obviously council has resolved to recycle Khami but of course consultations have to be done with stakeholders, as to whether we use the water for direct use as portable water or use it substitute water for industrial use. Industry is currently using clean water for their industrial purposes so we can then substitute clean with recycled water. One such industry that was identified is the Bulawayo Power Station should it come to operation but still the water has to be extended to other industries,” he said.

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