The rainfall situation this year was slightly better than last year with a total of 2098,7 mm of rainfall being received in the catchment area of our storage dams compared to 491 mm recorded in the previous year. The maximum rainfall reading was 1107,2 mm recorded for the month of January 2008.
At the beginning of the rainy season in January 2008, the total storage in all operational dams was 256,698,692m3 representing 70,79% of the total storage capacity. By the end of the year in December 2008, 184,596,471m3 of water was stored representing 50,9% of total storage. The previous year storage at the start and at the end of the year had been 115,534,132m3 (31,86%) and 141,159,479m3 (38,93%) respectively. At the onset of the rainy season in November 2007 the dams contained a total of 70,076,038 cubic metres (19,32%) .
There still remains the need to find alternative sources of water for the city to augment the water supply from the dams, which will soon be stretched to the limit. This should be of high priority especially when considering the unreliable and low rainfalls and the gold panning activities that are slowly reducing the capacity of the dams through siltation. Finding a sustainable and reliable water source is critical for economical development and viability of any city as industrial and economic activities are a direct function of reliable water supplies. As the population of the city continues to grow annually, the need to find alternative sources becomes even greater and more urgent.
Pumping from the aquifer commenced on the 13th of January 2008 after a month of zero pumping. A total of 142,839m3 of water was pumped from the aquifer for the year ending December 2008 at an average rate of 1,134m3 per day. The maximum amount of water pumped per day was 4,536m3; and the minimum was 876 m3 as pumping was not carried out on some particular days due to power cuts or maintenance work being carried out on the boreholes or mainly to build up volumes in the storage tanks at Cowdray Park.
All pumping equipment and water mains were maintained in relatively good working order albeit the frequent breakdowns of pumps at mainly Ncema waterworks and Fernhill Booster Pumpstation and repairs were being carried out despite the shortage and continued increases in the price of spare parts. The pipelines came under continued threat of damage from gold panners along the pipeline, but regular inspections by the pipeline inspector minimised the risk. Roads within the pipeline servitudes need attention, as the Department could not afford to render the annual reconditioning service as a result of perennial fuel shortages and financial constraints. The shortage of fuel meant that the inspections were not as regular as required. The need to repair the rotork valves on the KSB pumps became more apparent due to the increasingly frequent jamming of the actuators.
The amount of raw water pumped through Fernhill Pump Station to Criterion Water Works in the outskirts of the city for treatment in the year ending 31 December 2008 was 33,443,305m3 compared to 20,841,381 m3 the previous year. During the same period a total of 11,863,058 m3 of treated water from Ncema Water Works was also pumped through the same station compared to 11,362,125 m3 in the year 2007.
The reservoir's roof is leaking as a result of the asphaltic coating on the top slabs that has been worn off on the expansion joints. Dust and stones fall into the reservoir thereby compromising water quality. There is need to have the reservoir repaired and bring an end to this spell of compromised water safety before the onset of the rainy season as runoff will probably flow into the reservoir introducing undesirable materials into treated water.
High quality potable water continued to be produced from the water treatment plants throughout the year ending December 2008.The continued increase in the price of chemicals negatively affected endeavours by the city to provide water at affordable prices.
The two water treatment plants namely, Ncema Water Works and Criterion Water Works treated a total of 50,061,754m3 in the year under review. Generally, refurbishment of infrastructure at both works is now due. Re-sanding of the 20 filter beds at Ncema water works is now overdue. Water quality is being compromised for as long as these beds have not been re-sanded
The total amount 44 684 317m3 of water consumed during the year 2008 was 49018 606m3 as compared to consumed the previous year. This represents a 9,69% increase in the amount of water consumed.
The average daily consumption for the year 2008 was 134,297m3 per day as compared to 96,714m3 per day in the year 2007. The maximum average daily consumption of 183,812m3 was achieved in the month of February 2008 due to the prevailing high temperatures at that time, while a minimum average daily consumption of 58,701m3 was achieved in the month of March 2008.
Council introduced water rationing in July 2005 when water supplies were adequate for a period of 14 months. This water-rationing scheme was in place throughout the year and was amended once in the month of October 2006 so as to delay the depletion period of the water that was in the dams. All daily water allocations for all domestic settings were reduced by 50 litres. This further reduced the daily target levels by about 6000 m3 per day. The reductions are as tabulated below: -
Intense advertising was carried out to conscientise residents of the water-rationing scheme requiring urgent water conservation co-operation by the city's residents. This was done through the electronic media, press, posters and public meetings.
The Government of Zimbabwe contracted a Malaysian company to construct the Gwayi-Shangani Dam two years ago , which had moved to site. However, not much progress was made during the previous two years under review. Funding remains a major setback for the implementation of this project despite the apparent urgency and great need to find alternative sources of water for the city.
The only other source of water is the Mtshabezi Dam, which is located in the same region as the other five supply dams. Abstraction from this dam can be made possible by linking it to Umzingwane dam via a pipeline. Preliminary designs and project costing was done by ZINWA, which is the responsible authority for linking the two dams. The estimated cost of the project in August 2006 was ZWD$3billion local currency component and US$3.4 million foreign currency component. The project is envisaged to take 18 months to implement if funds are disbursed according to the programme of works.
The Environmental Impact Assessment study was done and submitted to the relevant authorities for approval.