City to Decomission Gwenhoro
Gweru council to decommission Gwenoro Dam
GWERU City Council will anytime this month decommission the city’s main supply dam, Gwenoro Dam, after water levels sunk to two percent, the City Engineer, Eng Jones Nanthambwe has said.In an interview yesterday, Eng Nanthambwe said Gwenoro’s storage capacity had gone down so low to levels below normal reading range.
“Our water situation remains dire. Gwenoro Dam has gone down so low to levels of around two percent. The rate at which the dams are going down is two percent per month. This clearly indicates that Gwenoro Dam is as good as dry. The lowest marker peg in Gwenoro Dam is now completely exposed.
This means that the suction valves might also be exposed any day in the coming weeks. We will certainly be decommissioning Gwenoro Dam anytime this month. We cannot say exactly when we will do this because it is difficult to be precise when dealing with water,” he said.
Eng Nanthambwe said the city’s consumption patterns were partly to blame for the situation as they had not gone down despite repeated calls to respect the water rationing regime.
Gweru, Eng Nanthambwe said, consumes 34 000 cubic metres of water per day instead of the preferred daily consumption of 20 000 cubic metres.
He said the city and its immediate surroundings will have to rely mainly on Amaphongokwe Dam which has limited pumping capacity compared to Gwenoro.
“Amaphongokwe Dam is 43 percent full representing 18,9 million cubic metres. This is the water that the City of Gweru will rely on until the next rainy season. When Amaphongokwe is the city’s sole supply dam, the draw down is estimated to be five percent per month. Therefore, this amount will only last up to 31 August, 2014,” said Eng Nanthambwe.
Gweru residents have been experiencing critical water shortages during the past two weeks and at one time the whole city was without water. High lying areas like Ridgemont and Clonsilla have been without water for more than a month.
Ridgemont residents who thronged Chronicle’s Gweru offices yesterday, said they wanted the council to provide answers as to when it will restore normal water supplies.
They also said the council should supply a water bowser to service them on a daily basis until the situation returns to normal.
The residents said their neighbours with boreholes who used to assist them have stopped doing so since the introduction of cash power.
In Ascot, there were long winding queues at the market gardening project boreholes. There was, however, chaos at one borehole near the shopping centre where some people were demanding $1 from residents who wanted to draw water.
Eng Nanthambwe attributed the recent city water challenges to a chain of technical problems within the supply system.
“In the past two days, our water problems were mainly due to the range booster motor which got burnt. While our team was attending to the challenge, the pumping main pipeline burst. This is the reason behind the water challenges. Hopefully we will have finished working on that by tonight (last night). The Ridgemont problem is unfortunate. The suburb is fed through a pump and motor at Clonsilla Pump Station.
The nature of the problem is that it takes time to repair but we have since fixed it. However, it is at the same time we lost the motor at the Range Booster. The motor is being repaired in Bulawayo but we now have a new challenge, that of a burst main pipe. It’s a series of problems. Clonsilla and Ridgemont are the worst affected because they are the furthest and lie on the highest ground in the water supply chain,” he said.
Eng Nanthambwe urged residents who felt they needed the services of a water bowser to engage the Housing and Community Services department.
He said the city council had adopted a number of mitigation measures to alleviate the city’s water challenges that include drilling 31 boreholes, among others.
“We are going to drill 31 boreholes around the city. We have already evaluated quotations and we are also looking for quotations for a bowser to supply water to worst affected areas. We also need to seriously respect the water shedding regime in case the Amaphongokwe water does not last the period projected. There will be need to carry out public awareness campaigns on water conservation,” said Eng Nanthambwe.