Bulawayo buffer dam runs dry

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO’S buffer dam, the Criterion Water Works has completely run out of water due to the ever dwindling water levels in the city’s dams.

The city has so far decommissioned three of its dams because they were now below pumping levels.

Speaking to journalists soon after a tour of the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Rehabilitation Project Friday, Bulawayo City Council (BCC) Director of Engineering Service, Simela Dube said it is the first time in the city’s history that its raw water reservoir has depleted.

The water storage facility which doubles as a treatment plant stores water for 10 days in the event of a pumping breakdown or electricity fault at Ncema dam.

“When power is lost for few hours, consumption is still ongoing but there will be no water. We are now working on a live system. This is why we are saying when electricity is down or the pumps have faults, immediately residents now feel it because the Criterion buffer dam is no longer there,” said Dube.

Before its supply dams dwindled, Dube said the city used to pump raw water from the supply dams straight into the Criterion Water Works.

“At the moment, every time when electricity trips, we always tell consumers that we have power challenges; so, this dam was meant to cover for such eventualities. In other words, when we have 10-day storage, even if ZESA trips at Ncema and are not pumping for five days, the consumers will not feel it because we will be continuously feeding them from Criterion,” said Dube.

The Engineer said some stakeholders have suggested that council installs a standby generator at Ncema but having Criterion as buffer and backup was a cheaper option.

The city is in the midst of a crippling water crisis.

Last month, Lands deputy minister Douglas Karoro said the country’s second largest city had been left with nine months of water supply.