The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Municipal Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council has come under fire for its continued water shedding regime after the local authority increased the shedding period by a further 24 hours to today.
This means Bulawayo residents have gone for a total of six days without any water supplies with the local authority claiming it is conducting major rehabilitation works at its water treatment plants.
In a notice the local authority’s Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, said council had been forced to increase the original 96-hour water cut by a further 24 hours due to some unforeseen challenges.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public that the on-going major rehabilitation works at Criterion Water Treatment Plant funded under the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) being supported by the African Development Bank are still on-going. The works which involve replacement of valves, pumps and all associated civil works could not be completed as per the advertised 96-hour shutdown.
“The contractor experienced some set-backs due to some unforeseen challenges on site. This will result in water supplies interruption previously scheduled to end on Saturday 6 July 2019 at 07:30 hours being extended to Sunday, 7 July at 18:00 hours,” reads part of the notice.
Mr Dube said some areas will, however, receive water supplies for a shorter period as works continue with the shedding likely to either be further increased or decreased as per the progress of the rehabilitation work.
“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise that some areas will, however, receive water supplies for a shorter period as works continue at Criterion Water Treatment Works.
The public is advised to collect enough water while we rebuild the reservoir levels.
“Please note that the programme is subject to change if the current works at the treatment plant and reservoir situation on the ground improves or deteriorates beyond the stipulated period. Residents are urged to conserve water and use alternative safe sources for non-potable uses especially boreholes,” he said.
However, residents have blasted the local authority saying while the rehabilitation works could be genuine, residents were not given a prior warning resulting in them being grossly affected and exposed to a number of diseases that thrive due to the unavailability of water.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association co-ordinator Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu said when the local authority initially announced the 96-hour shedding period it was a sudden notice and most residents were caught off guard hence were now struggling to get water.
“While we appreciate that they are servicing the treatment plants the danger now is that there was no prior warning.
Just take a walk in the western areas and you will find that there are people looking for water everywhere, people were honestly caught off guard.
“The local authority should also not forget that there are a number of diseases that can easily spread due to the unavailability of water, further this is worsened by them constantly saying that boreholes are themselves not hundred percent safe.
We remain hopeful that the local authority will remain true to their words and ensure that supplies are restored soonest,” said Mr Ndlovu.
Bulawayo United Residents Association (Bura) chairman Mr Winos Dube said the situation was bad with residents clamouring just to get the now precious liquid.
He said the local authority should have planned their rehabilitation to go stage by stage instead of implementing the wholesome project at once as it has left residents stranded.
“To be honest what the local authority is doing is inhumane, they knew all along that they were meant to carry out this rehabilitation and should have planned for it such that the cuts should have occurred stage by stage.
“People are falling sick out here and council is just turning a blind eye, it is worrying and for some of us leaders we are left wondering what the local authority is doing to solve this,” said Mr Dube.
Yesterday most residents were queuing at boreholes to fetch water as the situation continued to deteriorate.