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Water woes blight fire fighting services

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says water shedding is affecting firefighting efforts by the Fire and Rescue Services due to shortage of water bowsers.

The City is currently experiencing a 72-hour water shedding schedule as the city dam levels have dropped to alarming levels.

Currently, the city`s five supply dams are at 37 percent.

In an interview with CITE, Acting Town Clerk Sikhangele Zhou said the authority was struggling to provide enough bowsers during a fire outbreak.

“What happens is that when there is fire, we go with one bowser to connect to the hydrants but when there is water-shedding those hydrants will be dry,” said Zhou.

“At the moment our bowsers are few, just like the situation we had this week in Loch View where a house was burning, we had to call for a bowser which was in Nkulumane to come and release the first bowser that had left for the scene.

“If there was no water-shedding, it would mean within three minutes firefighters would have been able to put out the fire. If we are shedding it now means we now need more water bowsers,” she said.

Meanwhile, the acting chief fire officer Linos Phiri said the department currently relies on one bowser.

“We have one bowser which we normally use. The fire engineers are there but we do not have the one that carries water,” said Phiri.

“Fire attendees carry about 1 700 litres of water but you find that at times there will be water-shedding and that water runs out before we put out the fire.

“The only big bowser that we have carries about 9000 litres and it is the one that we now rely on when there is fire.”

Phiri said the department has however in the process of acquiring a 20 000-litre bowser.

“As means to deal with the situation we have organised to secure a bowser which carries 20 000 litres of water,” said Phiri.

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