By Lisa Masuku
GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over the vandalism and theft of copper cables at the Rochester Epping Forest pump site near Bulawayo which has compounded water challenges in the city.
An assessment tour of the Rochester and Epping Forest pump site located in Nyamandlovu area of Umguza district by an inter-ministerial team led by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka laid bare how vandalism is deterring efforts to address water challenges in the city of Bulawayo.
Due to vandalism, the Rochester Epping Forest pump site is only able to pump about 3.5 mega litres a day to the city, yet it was designed with an operational capacity of 20 mega litres a day.
“With an installer capacity of 26 mega litres per day and an operational capacity of 20 mega litres per day for sustainability, the Rochester Epping Forest is only able to pump about 3.5 megalitres to the city of Bulawayo per day because of vandalism of transformers and cables that supply the boreholes. This certainly has become unacceptable. It has become a major security threat.”
“I brought this inter-ministerial team here so we can assess the situation on the ground and be able to give first hand advice on how we can restore the Bulawayo water supply to 20mega litres per day and also restore everything to functionality. 17 transformers disappeared. The Nyamandlovu water supply system was a major investment by government as a short term measure for the supply of water to Bulawayo while we build the long-term one which is the Lake Gwayi-Shangani which is now at 70 per cent completion. We are determined to make sure that this short term measure works while we work on the long-term solution,” said Dr Masuka.
The challenges at Rochester Epping Forest pump site has affected at least 60 000 of the city’s population.
The inter-ministerial team has since agreed on improving surveillance systems and replacing underground copper cables with aluminium ones.
A long term solution is also in sight with the Second Republic’s Gwayi Shangani Lake project which will supply water to Bulawayo nearing completion.