AT LEAST seven Bulawayo high-density suburbs had no water yesterday following a water pipe burst on Monday. This forced residents to turn to unsafe water sources for the precious liquid.
Residents of Emganwini, Nketa, Nkulumane, Magwegwe, Njube, Pelandaba and Pumula woke up to dry tapes following the pipe burst at the robots at the intersection of Pumula and Masiyepambili roads.
Bongiwe Ngwenya, the Bulawayo City Council’s public relations officer confirmed the water pipe burst, saying engineers were attending to the problem.
“As of lunchtime, the following areas had no water supply that is Emganwini, Nkulumane, Nketa, Magwegwe, Njube, Pelandaba, and Pumula,” Ngwenya said in an e-mailed response to Southern Eye questions yesterday.
“There have been by a burst water pipe which occurred on 255m off the Criterion feeder yesterday (Monday) afternoon.
“Council is currently working on fixing the pipe and we are trying to ensure that we finish before end of day today (Tuesday),”
The water cuts came at a time residents of Pumula South, Barbourfields, Paddonhurst and Emakhandeni were complaining about intensifying water cuts, with some lasting up to two days.
Millicent Mdlongwa of Barbourfields said council should repair boreholes sunk in her suburb as residents were struggling to cope with the water cuts.
“We want council to repair the boreholes in residential areas because we can’t get used to their water rationing. We are afraid of a disease outbreak in this suburb if we go for long without water,” Mdlongwa said.
Another resident Stella Siziba said the boreholes had been abandoned and they were being forced to buy water from residents in neighbouring suburbs.
Paddonhurst resident Nicole George urged council to first repair boreholes before embarking on a reservoir cleaning programme which was likely to leave more areas without water.
“We had no water on Sunday and Monday morning. How do we survive without water? The council must make life easy for everyone and repair the boreholes so that we at least have access to water while they do their repairs or clean-ups,” George said.
Ngwenya said there was a high possibility that the water reservoir clean-up programme would interrupt water supplies in the event that the reservoir components required repair.
“Possibilities are high that the water clean-up process would interrupt the supply of water to the public in the event that the reservoir ancillary components require maintenance. The public must expect a change in the water supply,” she said.
Norman Hlabani, the Emganwini councillor said the water cuts were caused by a council programme to replace aged water sewer pipes.
“There is an ongoing exercise by the council’s engineering department to replace old water and sewerage pipes hence the water cuts. The pipes are so old, some of them have been there for over 40 years,” he said. “As such, it is necessary to have the pipes replaced so that we minimise water pipe bursts that we continue to experience.”
Council is conducting a month-long bulk water reservoir cleaning programme in a bid to enhance the quality of drinking water.
The exercise started on Monday is due to end on July 31 and was undertaken following indications by council’s microbiology section that the water supply reservoirs do not contain any bacteria and the city’s tap water was 100% safe to drink.