Gweru taps run dry

Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
A number of Gweru suburbs have been without water since last week, as the council is experiencing pumping challenges at Gwenhoro treatment plant due to low voltage electricity.

Town Clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza said council was pumping only 25 megalitres of water per day instead of the usual 43-45 megalitres enough to meet the city’s growing population.

Gwenhoro Dam and the treatment plant are 46km away from  Gweru.

“All our residents and stakeholders in Gweru, our city council is experiencing pumping capacity challenges at Gwenhoro treatment plant,” said Ms Gwatipedza. “We normally have five water pumps running, but due to low voltage of electricity we are only using two pumps.

“Zesa is working flat out to identify the cause of the fault in the line. In light of this we are not able to produce the usual 43-45 megalitres per day which has been drastically reduced to around 25 megalitres per day.”

The most affected suburbs include high density Mkoba 9, 10 11, 12, 15, 17, 18 and 20 – a development that has left them relying on boreholes and unsafe water bodies for water for domestic   use.

In October, the local authority’s finance director, Mr Edgar Mwedzi, said residents will continue to experience erratic water supplies as a result of power outages and breakdown of equipment.

“We continue to face insufficient clear and raw water pumping capacity with several leaks along the pumping mains and distribution network,” he said.

Last year, councillors and management failed to agree on a proposal to introduce a levy to address some of the challenges faced by the city.

The councillors said ratepayers could not afford to pay the levy since they were already failing to settle bills owing to economic hardships with the management arguing that such a levy had helped resolve some of the water challenges faced by other local authorities.

A service level benchmarking peer review report carried out in June revealed that council was losing at least 57 percent of its treated water through burst pipes and leakages, with most of its equipment having outlived its lifespan.

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