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Rehabilitation of Epping and Rochester boreholes expected to be completed by end of February

Story by Josephine Mugiyo

GOVERNMENT is working on an immediate solution to improve the water supply in Bulawayo after replacing stolen transformers and rehabilitating vandalised boreholes at Epping Forest and Rochester Farm.

The move is meant to ensure water pumping is at full capacity by the end of this month.

The Epping Forest boreholes were commissioned in 2021 to boost the water supply in the City of Bulawayo.

Combined with boreholes from Nyamandlovu Aquifer, the target was to supply 20 mega litres a day, augmenting water supply from the city’s dams.

There was however a setback after the vandalism of transformers and boreholes at Epping Forest and Rochester Farm which reached its peak late last year.

The government has since moved in to save the situation with an inter-ministerial task force being set up to ensure the transformers are replaced and the vandalised boreholes are fixed.

A visit to Epping Forest and Rochester Farm revealed that work is being carried out to rehabilitate the boreholes.

The Chief Director for Water Resources and Irrigation in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Engineer Tinayeshe Mutazu gave an insight into the task at hand, adding that the target is to ensure works are completed by the end of this month.

“In 2021, His Excellency Dr E. D. Mnangagwa commissioned Epping Forest which was primarily to augment water supply to Bulawayo. Rochester was giving 10 mega litres a day and the idea was to bring it to 20. The vandalism of these boreholes and transformers prompted us as government to act and intervene. Twenty boreholes were vandalised. We should see this system restored by end of February.”

Bulawayo Acting Director for Engineering Services, Engineer Sikhumbuzo Ncube says the city requires 164 mega litres of water a day and was badly affected by the vandalism of equipment at Epping Forest and Rochester Farm.

He, however, said the setting up of the task force has yielded positive results with the boreholes now supplying at least 11 mega litres from as low as 3,5 at the peak of vandalism.

“The establishment of the task force has combined forces. We have increased from 3,5 mega litres to 11 as the boreholes got rehabilitated. Before 2021, we only had Rochester Farm boreholes but the coming on board of Epping boreholes helped us.”

Projects like Epping Forest are viewed as a short term measure as government works on a permanent solution to solving Bulawayo’s water challenges.

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