The City of Bulawayo has in the past years experienced a drought characterized by very little rainfall. This has affected Bulawayo City Council’s service delivery of water to its valued residents. The economic challenges in the country have worsened the situation.
Council has faced limitations in maintaining its water and sewerage aged infrastructure due to lack of adequate funding and production of little revenue. This is compounded by the rural urban migration that has seen an increase in population.
It is against this background that the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP)’s intervention addresses the water accessibility challenges through rehabilitation of the infrastructure by developing the capacity of the service provider to ensure immediate service improvement as well as medium and long term needs.
The City of Bulawayo is currently implementing the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) being supported by the African Development Bank whose objective is to improve municipal water supply and sanitation services contributing to the improvement of the health and social well being of the population of Bulawayo. As an implementing agency of the BWSSIP, the City of Bulawayo has applied the proceeds of this grant towards the rehabilitation of targeted critical components of the City’s water and sewerage infrastructure in order to improve access to water and reduce environmental pollution
The project started in 2016 and the overall implementation of the project is 88% complete with a number of contracts now completed and handed over to the City.
The project has been granted a 12 months extension time to 31 December 2021.
Currently the project has the following as its main contracts though there are some additional contracts in the project;
G01/1 which is the supply and installation of electromechanical equipment at pump stations i.e. Ncema and Fernhill,
One of the project components was the replacement of obsolete pumping equipment at the Ncema and Fernhill Pump Stations. The USD7.5million contract for this project component was awarded in 2018 and is nearing completion. Commissioning of the new pumping system was planned for 11 December 2020. However, commissioning has been rescheduled due to the failure of four non-return valve (NRVs) which are an integral part to the pumping system. The NRVs have an important function in that they protect the pumps; when a pump is switched off or when there is a power outage, the NRV prevents backflow from the water in the rising main.
Under the terms of the contract, the Contractor has a contractual obligation to rectify the challenges and deliver a fully functional pumping system to the City of Bulawayo.The Contractor is replacing the failed Non Return Valves at no cost to Council.
A progressive solution has been agreed with the Contractor for commissioning of the new system which is now underway. The first stage will see one pump at each pumpstation in operation by the end of January 2021 which will deliver an average of 52ML/day of water to Criterion Water Treatment Works. This forms part of the incremental solution, progressively working towards a fully commissioned pumping system, which will deliver an average of 82ML/day of water to Criterion by 15 March 2021.
G01/3 deals with the supply, installation and commissioning of bypass breakers; Ncema and Fernhill High Voltage works
Procurement of equipment is ongoing.
G07 GIS, Call Centre/ BIQ Integration
The Customer Relationship Management (CRM)- what has been developed and tested and transfer of data to the new server has been completed.
G08 Solar Power for Call Centre server
Procurement of equipment for the Call Centre server is underway. The contract will be retendered this year.
W01 deals with water mains upgrading and mains renewal and bulk and domestic water meter replacement;
2.8km pipe work has been laid. For mains renewals, Pumula East 15km out of 15km done, Pumula Old 15.5km out of 18 km done and Luveve 19.4km out of 20km done. 14 859 out of 17 695 domestic meters have been replaced. Domestic meter installation is underway with multiple teams for the renewal areas. The project is also installing smart Pressure Reducing Valves (PRVs) and 11 out of 28 have been installed.
W03 Rehabilitation of outfall sewers – Cowdray Park Catchment;
Pipe laying is underway and 11.47km out of 11.6km has been done. Outfall 2, 4A, and 4B have been handed over to Council and construction of outfall 6 to connect unconnected outfall from Cowdray Park Old to the treatment works is underway.
W04 Rehabilitation of Criterion Water Treatment Plant;
All electrical and mechanical components of the original contract have been installed and are in use. Electrical and mechanical components for the second contract have been procured and await final installation which requires shutdown of plant.
W05 Rehabilitation of Outfall sewers – Southern Areas Sewage Treatment Plant Catchment and Hotspots;
Contract was completed in September 2020 and handed over to Council. Snagging is ongoing. Manhole lids on some rehabilitated sewer lines are still outstanding.
Installation of the secondary clarifier is underway.
W07 Cowdray Park
The project seeks to install 14 stand pipes and 9000 metered house connections in Cowdray Park. The installation of distribution mains and house connections is 98% complete on prioritised segments. Implementation of metered house connections is subject to householders completing applications for connections.
Public awareness and institutional outreach activities are under implementation in accordance with the institutional outreach plan. Priority activities currently include the implementation of measures to prevent the contraction and spread of COVID 19 infections on all BWSSIP projects. Public awareness also includes awareness activities that include informing the public of disruption caused by the implementation works for major rehabilitation contracts.
The project impacts on social services and the lives of people (mainly women and children). Poor sanitation and water supply impact on health, and therefore economic productivity, impacting livelihoods, and generating a sense of social exclusion for groups without access to such basic services.
The need for restoring social services and improving basic water supply and sanitation services is therefore one critical pillar for building the resilience of society and reducing the impact of fragility.