Bulawayo to draw water from Epping Forest

Mrs. Marjorie Munyonga

Nqobile Tshili
BULAWAYO will soon start pumping water from Epping Forest in Nyamandlovu as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has almost completed the drilling and equipping of the 10 boreholes that were under rehabilitation.

The project would ease the Bulawayo water crisis and deliver an additional 10 megalitres (ML) per day to the depressed city’s water supplies.

The city is experiencing the worst water crisis in its modern history blamed on its failure to expand its pumping capacity in tandem with the growing population.

Zinwa has completed drilling nine of the 10 boreholes at Epping Forest while seven of them have already been equipped, ready to start pumping water to the city.

The authority is now conducting test runs for the seven equipped boreholes.

Zinwa started drilling of the boreholes at the end of August after Government released $205 million for Bulawayo’s water augmentation scheme. The drilling, rehabilitation, equipping and connection of the boreholes to power cost about US$1,5 million.

The funds were released after President Mnangagwa directed that the Bulawayo water crisis be attended to as matter of urgency.

The worsening water crisis has seen residents in some suburbs going for eight months without running water.

Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga yesterday said significant progress has been made at the Epping Forest project.

She said Bulawayo will start receiving water from the project in the coming few days.

“The scope of work at Epping Forest entailed the drilling of 10 boreholes and equipping them together with 10 other boreholes which were already in existence. Zinwa therefore wishes to advise stakeholders that since then commendable progress has been made with the authority currently drilling the last of the 10 boreholes that were meant to be drilled under the project,” she said.

“Seven boreholes have since been equipped while the equipping of the rest of the boreholes is underway with most components on site. In terms of pumping and pipe work, the work is now substantially complete with only the energising (electrification) of the line being the only outstanding activity.”

Mrs Munyonga said Zesa engineers were also on the ground to ensure that electricity is installed to enable water pumping.

“Zinwa is already test-running the pumping system using gravity and by end of day on November 1, 2020, a total of 10,4 (ML) of water had been pumped through the test runs. More test runs will be run once the system is fully energised in the coming days. On completion of the project, Epping Forest should deliver an additional 10ML of water per day, taking the combined output from Epping Forest and Nyamandlovu (Rochester) to 20 ML per day,” she said.

Mrs Munyonga said the city was also receiving 16ML/day from the Mtshabezi pipeline. Under the $205 million that was released, $75 million would be used to improve pumping of water at Mtshabezi Dam.

She said Zinwa appreciates the importance of completing the Bulawayo water augmentation project as soon as possible.

“Zinwa wishes to thank all stakeholders for their support during the period and once again reiterates its commitment to a speedy and expeditious resolution of the Bulawayo water situation. The authority will keep updating stakeholders as the project progresses,” said Mrs Munyonga.

The water crisis has seen an outbreak of diarrhoea in Bulawayo that has killed 13 people and infecting more than 2000.