BULAWAYO residents are set to endure a three-day weekly water shedding exercise as the local authority struggles to pump water to the city due to alleged power outages.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) has absolved itself of any blame in the ongoing water shedding programme saying there was no major electricity fault in the city.
Council last Friday introduced a weekly 48-hour water shedding programme to affect the city except for the city centre and industrial sites.
The local authority yesterday increased the water shedding exercise to 72 hours per week.
In a statement yesterday, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said the city is still experiencing power outages and as a result council has increased water shedding to three days a week.
“The public is being advised of the introduction of a 72-hour shedding programme citywide. This is due to further delays in the recovery of the system since it was affected by power outages that occurred two weeks ago. The power outage resulted in the loss of and subsequently subdued abstraction and pumping,” said Mr Dube.
“Further correspondence from Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) shows that they will be working on the Hwange Power Grid for another week beginning November 16 2021 from 7AM to 7PM every day which will continue to disrupt Nyamandlovu pumping which will be reduced from the regular 15ML/day to 3ML/day.”
He said water delivery systems were further compromised after a transformer was burnt at uMzingwane Dam disrupting raw water delivery.
“ZETDC has so far installed a temporary transformer that can only handle 50 percent pumping capacity. It is against this background of limited water delivery that the city is introducing the 72-hour water shedding to avoid system collapse,” he said.
However, ZETDC southern region manager Engineer Lovemore Chinaka said the power company is not experiencing any faults that warrants increased water shedding.
“What I can tell you is that we just had those challenges for one or two days. We have not experienced anything that is of concern. What we are dealing with are normal faults that occur on the lines,” said Eng Chinaka.
Residents have decried the new water shedding regime saying it was taking them back to the difficult times they experienced last year.
The city in 2020 endured the worst water shedding exercise that contributed to an increase in water-borne diseases that led to deaths of at least 13 residents in Luveve suburb.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) co-ordinator Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu said the latest water shedding programme was a man-made disaster that proves lack of proper planning on the part of council.
“For a council as big as BCC not to have a backup plan, we believe it’s a problem especially considering the acrimonious relationship that council has had with the power company. The council managed to install a power generator at its offices to address power cuts and I think they should have done the same with provision of water.
Access to water is at the core of residents’ livelihoods, hence, we believe a backup plan was needed and a contingency plan is needed considering that power cuts have also increased,” said Mr Ndlovu.
“We would have understood if there was water shortage but surely this is a result of poor planning on the part of council.”
According to a council water shedding schedule, Bellevue, Newton West, West Somerton, Montrose, Southwold, Sizinda, Tshabalala, Nkulumane 10 to 12, Mpopoma South, Old Pelandaba, Iminyela, Burnside, Pumula North and Pumula East, Cowdray Park, Gwabalanda, Emakhandeni, Barbourfields, Mzilikazi, Nguboyenja and Makokoba, Ilanda, Romney Park, Paddonhurst, Bradfield, Tegela, Emhlangeni and Sunnyside will experience water cuts from Thursday at 7:30AM and taps will be reopened on Monday at the same time.
Taps will be opened on Friday at 7:30AM and closed on Tuesday at the same time in Esigodini, Imbizo Barracks, Fortunes Gate, Selbourne Park, Matsheumhlope, Parklands, Khumalo, Queenspark, Suburbs Mahatshula, Woodville and Kingsdale.
Nkulumane 5, Nketa, Emganwini, Pumula South, Old Pumula, Pelandaba West, Khami, Magwegwe, Lobengula West, Lobengula, Mabutweni, Matshobane, Njube, Luveve, Mpopoma, Magwegwe North and Magwegwe West, Harrisvale, Trenance Richmond and Sauerstown will have supplies disconnected from Saturday at 7:30AM and taps will be reopened on Wednesday at the same time.