BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has run out of water treatment chemicals amid indications the local authority may be forced to stop the purification of the precious liquid unless foreign currency to procure the much needed chemicals is urgently mobilised.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
This is not the first time the local authority has faced a water chemicals shortage.
A couple of years ago, the city also endured an acute shortage of water treatment chemicals that resulted in a cessation of purification of water at its Criterion Water Works.
According to the latest council report, the local authority is left with only a month’s supply of ammonia, while their poly-electrolyte stocks are reportedly also running low.
Ammonia is used to assist chlorine in the disinfection process of water, while poly-electrolytes are used in the process of coagulation and flocculation which helps clear murky waters.
“Discussion ensued and Alderman Norman Hlabani sought clarification in challenges which were being faced regarding the availability of water treatment chemicals? Alderman Clayton Zana was concerned about the shortage of ammonia. Was water quality not compromised as a result of this?
“In response, the director of engineering services (Simela Dube) advised that there was only one month’s supply of aluminium sulphate in stock, which was a critical chemical in treating water. Aluminium sulphate was used as a stop-gap. He confirmed that foreign currency shortages were affecting the availability of chemicals,” a council report of the future water supplies and water action committee reads in part.
BCC town clerk Christopher Dube yesterday told Southern Eye that the local authority was now engaging the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to come to their rescue as all the water treatment chemicals are sourced from outside the country.
“I am sure a solution will be found very soon. The RBZ and government have not let us down when it comes to ensuring water treatment chemicals are procured,” Dube said in a telephone interview.
The development comes at a time the local authority has warned it might be forced to decommission some of its supply dams where water levels have dwindled to critical levels.
According to the BCC, Umzingwane, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema water levels are not pleasing and spell doom for the city if no significant inflows are received during the upcoming rainy season.
Bulawayo has, for years, faced serious water shortages, with city fathers being forced to decommission supply dams over low water levels.