Bulawayo — Construction of the Mtshabezi water pipeline to supply the city’s feeder dams has been completed, providing temporary relief to residents who are currently reeling from crippling water shortages.
So severe has been water shortages in Bulawayo that city fathers had in the past weeks been forced to implement stringent water rationing, resulting in some suburbs going for days without the precious liquid.
Water Resources Development and Manage-ment Minister, Samuel Sipepa-Nkomo revealed this week that Bulawayo would soon be getting water from Mtshabezi Dam following the completion of the multi-million dollar project.
The pipeline would be commissioned soon.
Bulawayo has only three dams supplying water, following the de-commissioning of Upper Ncema and Umzingwane dams.
The Bulawayo City Council and government have proposed the completion of the Mtshabezi water pipeline as a short-term solution to the city's persistent water problems.
"The pipeline is complete, connections to reservoirs and generators are in place; the government has concluded its construction of the pipeline at the moment and the engineers are testing the pipeline for any leakages," said Sipepa-Nkomo.
"At the moment, we are waiting for ZESA to connect electricity to the pipeline. However, this will not stop us from pumping water to the households as there are generators that will pump water should the ZESA connections delay," he added without being drawn into commenting on exactly when the project would be commissioned.
The pipeline will provide 17 000 megalitres of water per day to Bulawayo, effectively boosting the city's water supply. But water rationing would be maintained, with water cuts limited to three days instead of four.
The city's deputy mayor, Amen Mpofu, said while Bulawayo welcomed the completion of the pipeline, council would only make a public announcement once Mtshabezi water started flowing to the city's taps.
"I will only celebrate when the water specifically from that pipeline flows from our taps. At the moment, we can all just wait in anticipation," said Mpofu.
Anglistone Sibanda, a representative of the advocacy committee of the National Zambezi Water Project, said the Mtshabezi water pipeline should not be another false promise as residents in Bulawayo have waited for long for it to come to fruition. -- Own Correspondent.