Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
GWERU City Council is in urgent need of US$64 million to upgrade its old and dilapidated water pumping system, a development that has seen 10 high lying suburbs going for weeks without supplies.
In a statement yesterday, town clerk Ms Elizabeth Gwatipedza said because of the obsolete equipment and a growing population of about 200 000 people, residents should brace for water woes until such a time when the local authority is able to secure US$64 million for upgrading the old and dilapidated water system.
Ms Gwatipedza said in the next few months, council will implement a strict water rationing regime.
“To be able to pump treated water at full capacity, there are rehabilitation works that need to be undertaken at our treatment plant and raw water pump station (Amaphongokwe and Gwenhoro) which mainly comprise of obsolete pump replacements and repair of mainlines and major fittings which have been costed to the tune of US$10 million,” she said. “There are however, additional works that need to be done in the short and medium term which include upgrading water treatment plants, upgrading of water pumping mains plus pump stations, replacement of old and dilapidated pipe networks and other related works at a cost of US$54 million.”
Ms Gwatipedza said each day the local authority has a deficit of 15 mega litres of water to supply residents. She said the city needs in excess of 80 mega litres of water a day.
The town clerk said high lying areas which include Mkoba 14, 19, 11, 10, 1, 2, 7, 17, Harben Park and Ridgemont are experiencing water problems.
“Supply through the two treatment plants that is Gwenhoro and Whitewaters, with capacities of 60 mega litres and 5 mega litres respectively when fully functional, brings the total to a mere 65 mega litres per day. Currently Gwenhoro treatment plant has an output of 40-43 mega litres per day while Whitewater has an output of 1.5 mega litres per day giving a total of between 43-44 mega litres per day,” she said.
“Due to bottlenecks caused by civil mechanical and electrical equipment broken down, we cannot operate at full capacity. With a deficit of 15 mega litres per day, we can’t fill our reservoirs. High lying areas which include Mkoba 14, 19, 11, 10, 1, 2, 7, 17, Harben Park and Ridgemont suffer because of the deficit.”
Ms Gwatipedza said due to frequent power outages and pipe bursts on council’s pumping mains, there are times when there is no production from the treatment plants further worsening the situation.
She advised residents that Gwenhoro dam is currently at 26 percent capacity which translates to only five months supply at the current production rate. “Amaphongokwe dam is 75 percent full, which is enough to take us for an additional 12 months. However, our pump has broken down and we cannot utilise the resource. Efforts are underway to urgently construct and equip Amaphongokwe raw water pump station. However due to the financial challenges the city is facing, the equipping of Amaphongokwe may not materialise as soon as possible,” Ms Gwatipedza said.