BULAWAYO City Council (BCC)’s master plan to refurbish its water and sewage system is in disarray amid revelations that the cash strapped local authority is failing to raise the required US$500 million.
By Musa Dube
The city and surrounding areas are sitting on a health time bomb because of blocked and burst sewer pipes which have become the order of the day.
Residents are also spending days without water after the council introduced water rationing after the level of water in its supply dams dropped.
In a recent interview, Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo said although the city has a master plan to replace its ageing sewer and water reticulation system, funding constraints have put the programme in disarray.
“The city has a master plan which requires over US$500 million to develop the whole water infrastructure by removing old pipes underground and refurbish the sewer processing plant,” said Moyo.
“The master plan is supposed to be implemented over a period of five years but the funding is a challenge. The reason why sewer is flowing in rivers such as Matshemhlophe and Mazai is because our sewer plants are not efficient and also the pipes that take the effluent there are broken so the effluent is leaking before it gets to the destination,” said the mayor.
He added that the city also hasplans to resolve the water crisis by increasing water supply.
“We also need money to argument the amount of water that we have,” he said.
Moyo also said they needed to rehabilitate boreholes in Nyamandlovu and also sink new ones.
The city’s sewer system is failing to cope with the growing population resulting in burst sewer pipes, heaps of uncollected refuse and water problems.
This is raising fears of disease outbreaks and environmental degradation. The situation has been like that for some time, with no solution in sight.
Recently, the Environment Management Agency (EMA) fined the BCC US$10 000 for polluting Umguza River.
In 2008, Zimbabwe battled a cholera outbreak that killed 4 288 people out of 98 592 infections largely as a result of dysfunctional water and sewer systems in urban areas.