Tuesday 12 November 2019


THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has encouraged residents to simultaneously flush their toilets twice a day in the morning (6-6.30AM) and evening (8-8.30PM) as a way of cleaning its sewer and reticulation system to curb pipe bursts.

Addressing a water crisis meeting at the Small City Hall yesterday, BCC director of engineering services Engineer Simela Dube said council would soon start lobbying for the “big flush” as it is popularly known.

In an interview on the sidelines of the meeting, which was organised by Habakkuk Trust, Eng Dube said: “Because of limited water availability we don’t have sufficient sewage flows in the system to clean itself. The sewage system is designed in such a manner that because of the peak flows in the morning, when residents are flushing or bathing, it discharges and cleans itself. 

“But because of water shedding, people are now using less and less water, some are not even flushing when they are not doing what we call number two”.

He said with co-operation from residents, the BCC is confident that the “big flush” will work.

“We are saying if everyone flushed their toilets whenever they had water between 6 and 6:30 in the morning, that would create that cleansing volume to clean the system. Similarly, if we do the same thing between 8 and 8:30 in the evening, it would provide that cleaning volume for the sewer system,” said Eng Dube.

“So, this is what we are encouraging our consumers to practice every other time when water is restored in their areas. It does work if we all co-operate. We need the cleansing to try and minimise blockages in the system”. 

The “big flush” comes as council is implementing a weekly 72-hour water shedding exercise affecting all suburbs.

The local authority first introduced the “big flush” in 2007 and used it again in 2012 at the height of water problems.

Recently, Environmental Management Agency Bulawayo provincial manager Mr Descent Ndlovu revealed that water shedding was contributing to sewer pipe bursts.

He encouraged the local authority to swiftly respond to blockage scenarios to avert outbreaks of diseases.

Meanwhile, Eng Dube has lobbied stakeholders to mobilise resources to assist council to come up with a lasting solution to the city’s water situation.

Habakkuk Trust chief executive officer Mr Dumisani Nkomo pledged that his organisation would continue its advocacy work for the development of Bulawayo. 

Mr Nkomo said through working together instead of finger pointing, Bulawayo would achieve its goals. Chronicle


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