BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) is seeking US$480 000 to improve water supplies from uMzingwane Dam as the authorities struggle to meet demand due to a growing population and expansion of the city.
This emerged when the council management and councillors toured some of the supply dams located in Matabeleland South on Friday last week.
The water situation in the city has deteriorated to a point where some suburbs go for almost a week without the precious liquid at a time when Zimbabwe is under siege from a cholera outbreak.
Bulawayo has been facing dire water shortages in the past years which have often been attributed to low rainfall in the region and breaking down of the pumping system.
BCC engineer for water supply, Dhumani Gwetu, revealed that electricity outrage at uMzingwane pump station had been affecting water provision and extraction of water from the dam.
“For us to put more boosters, we need one MPV transformer and once we get a bigger transformer, we can put another booster and move from 25 to 35 megalitres per day.
“Ideally, we prefer a situation whereby we put three boosters or three pumps because we will be able to extract 40 to 45 megalitres per day to be able to supply the growing population of Bulawayo.
“The transformer that we have allows us to use one pump but there are four pumps which are supposed to be replaced because we have been repairing them for some time.”
He said there was also a need to replace the transformers.
“This coming rainy season the country is expecting 13 cyclones of which two or three cyclone reached inland including Matabeleland South.
“This means we are good to go, but these cyclones should not find us not prepared to abstract and take that water, so we need to replace the transformer with a bigger one,” Gwetu said.
He also identified the upgrading of Inyankuni Dam intermediate duplications, adding that the city was engaging the Zimbabwe National Water Authority for the upgrade of the Nyamandlovu aquifer project.
He said they were also working on repairing pumps as well as replacement of current transformers with bigger ones as quick win projects.
Engineer Sehlulo Zondo said the city also needed funding to acquire pumps and transformers.
The funds, he said, were also required to electronically upgrade the systems to reduce the cost of travelling to switch on the machines at uMzingwane.
“For the purchasing of one NVA transformer, 480 kilowatts and a salver pump we are looking for US$480 000 and there is need for Telemetry and Viasat communication which will enable us to remotely operate the machines to reduce the need of travelling to switch the machines on and off,” Zondo said.
Meanwhile, Gwetu said no dam had been decommissioned so far.
He, however, said uMzingwane Dam which is 4,13% full is scheduled to be decommissioned next month if no rainfall is received.
As of November 17, Insiza Dam was 60,07% full, Inyankuni ((32,93%), Lower Ncema (31,72%) and Upper Ncema (22,35%).