THE government has since last year been sitting on a request by the Bulawayo City Council to partner with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) in the rehabilitation of Nyamandlovu aquifer boreholes.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
According to latest reports, the council plans to raise $4 million required for the rehabilitation of the Epping Forest boreholes through a $1 pipeline levy per household.
The water project, once complete, will provide an additional 10 megalitres of water to the city that faces perennial shortages of the precious liquid.
Last year, council wrote to Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo seeking approval to introduce the levy, but he is yet to respond despite follow-up letters from the local authority.
“This was a project that could be implemented in a short space of time to augment the city’s current water supply with an additional 10 megalitres of water per day,” council’s Future Water Supplies Committee said.
“It was estimated to cost about $4 million. The council had passed a resolution and agreed to partner with the government/Zinwa and contribute towards the cost of implementing this project.
”Letters had been written to the Local Government, Public Construction and National Housing ministry to facilitate the project.
“To date no feedback has been received and reminders have been sent,” the report added.
Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda told Southern Eye that Chombo’s silence was frustrating.
“We really need that project to be undertaken as quickly as possible. The failure of the government draws us back,” he said.
“We hope that the minister will allow us to go ahead with this project as we don’t want to be caught napping especially realising that the rains have not been good and we might be forced to ration water.”
The council said five supply dams received insignificant inflows this season and expected at least two dams to dry up by January 2016.
Bulawayo has been facing perennial water problems for years and the government has been accused of paying lip service to the problems.
The long-term solution to the water woes remains the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project.
However, President Robert Mugabe’s successive governments have failed to prioritise the project, leading to massive deindustrialisation of Bulawayo.