Safe water access and cleaner waste collection are set to become a reality for vulnerable communities in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, as a Bank-funded water and sewerage improvement project enters its final phase.
The Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP), a $33 million project is on course to rehabilitate and upgrade water production treatment facilities, water distribution, sewer drainage networks and wastewater treatment disposal facilities in the southwestern part of the city.
The project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2020.
“We are counting down months to completion. With the full suite of new services, we seek to reverse the devastating effects that poor sanitation and water supply has brought to this area. We look forward to witnessing the positive impacts that these changes will bring and building the resilience of this society,” said Mr Damoni Kitabire, Country Manager for the Bank’s Zimbabwe office.
Bulawayo, like many urban centres in Zimbabwe, has been affected by years of under-investment in its water and sewerage infrastructure maintenance. The city also suffers from water insecurity due to frequent drought. Less than 50% of the sewage generated in the city is currently collected, and the exposure to contamination is significant.
The project, administered by the government of Zimbabwe via the Bulawayo City Council, is designed to contribute to the health and social wellbeing of its population.
“Before the project, water was distributed on a ration basis, forcing marginal communities in Cowdray Park, an informal settlement in Bulawayo District to walk for over a kilometre to get water,” said Engineer Simela Dube, Director Engineering Services for the Bulawayo City Council
Installation of new domestic water meters
Since the project’s inception in 2015, four pumps have been replaced and 141 kilometres of network in Magwegwe and Criterion reservoir areas rehabilitated. Similarly, water mains have been upgraded, renewed and in some cases, replaced. Environmental improvements include rehabilitating two wastewater treatment facilities and replacing 18 kilometres of sewer lines.
Around 9,000 homes are expected to gain access to clean water.