BY PATRICIA SIBANDA
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has blamed water supply hitches from the Nyamandlovu aquifer to the city council’s continuous electricity outages at the plant.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the Nyamandlovu aquifer in February last year after the completion of the rehabilitation of boreholes by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
The project was seen as necessary to enhance water supplies to Bulawayo by increasing output to 8 megalitres from an average of 3ML.
But BCC engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube told Sunday Southern Eye that ongoing power outages were affecting pumping capacity from the aquifer.
“There has not been any change when it comes to Nyamandlovu aquifer. We are still experiencing power outages. The issue has not been resolved, not even a bit,” Ncube said.
Zesa blames the electricity supply disruptions on vandalism of its infrastructure.
“We have been experiencing a series of vandalism of Zesa cables and poles in the area and Zesa always tells us that they will look into the matter and see how they can resolve it,” Ncube said.
Epping Forest water in Nyamandlovu is seen as one of the key water projects undertaken by the government to address critical water challenges in Bulawayo.
Meanwhile, Ncube said the Criterion is back pumping at full throttle after Zesa resolved electricity challenges experienced at the site.
BCC had claimed that it was failing to pump adequate water to consumers due to power challenges at the Criterion Water Treatment Plant.
In an interview, Zesa Holdings southern region manager Lovemore Chinaka said that the power utility had resolved the electricity challenges at the Criterion Water Treatment Plant, resulting in smooth operations on site now.
Bulawayo faces serious water challenges.
At one point, city fathers planned to de-water the aquifer underneath the central business district (CBD). But the council later back tracked.
Bulawayo was built on an underground ‘river’ known as the Matsheumhlope aquifer.
There are reports of companies who own buildings installing pumps at their premises to dewater the river to prevent their structures from collapsing.
A research report titled: “Groundwater resource evaluation of urban Bulawayo aquifer” argues city fathers are failing to abstract water from the underground river owing to lack of expertise.
A preliminary study of the aquifer undertaken by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) shows groundwater potential of the aquifer from which an “annual yield of 3.5×106 m3 could be obtained.”