By Richard Shumba
Gweru residents living abroad have urged the City of Gweru (GCC) to consider introducing electricity-saving measures at its major supply water treatment plants, which could save the local authority millions of dollars every month.
Speaking during a Whatsapp group discussion on “Save our hometown Gweru”, American-based water engineer Norbet Murenda said one of the biggest challenges the city is facing is serious water supply shortages, high electricity bills, and lack of the latest equipment to be used by workers.
“As children who grew up in Gweru although now living abroad, we need to mobilize funds to assist our hometown especially in the area of clean water provisions and road maintenance. Our parents are suffering because of water shortages and bad roads, we need to act.
One of the measures to cut the huge electricity bill we read about, the council needs to consider constructing a water reservoir at Gwenhoro dam and introduce a water pumping timetable than the current 24-hour pumping method being used,” said Eng Murenda.
He said the city needs to construct a reservoir at Gwenoro dam and introduce water pumping during off-peak hours to fill up the tanks which will, in turn, feed the city during peak hours or when they experience power cuts outages.
The residents also called on the council to introduce online payment of bills in forex to allow it to receive the much-needed foreign currency.
The group discussion resolved to approach the council to establish what assistance is urgently needed, especially funds to pay for the commissioning of new pumps and transformer at Gwenhoro dam before launching fundraising activities abroad.
Recently the newly elected Gweru mayor Hamutendi Kombayi invited residents and stakeholders to communicate with him for suggestions, contributions, and donations through his email address.
A few months ago presenting the 2022 budget, the City of Gweru said they have since purchased a 2MVATransformer unit for Gwenhoro waterworks at a tune of $5,7million and ZETDC was also paid $6.9million for commissioning.
However, ZETDC acting southern regional general manager Engineer Gibson Kasipo refuted the claims that the council was given a quotation and paid $6.9million for the commissioning of the transformer saying the local authority should provide evidence of such payment.
“I’m not aware of any such payment, I’m only aware that in December we recommended a team from ZETDC to work with the council on the issue of commissioning the transformer. No quotation was yet sent to them. I would be happy to see the proof payment which was mentioned during the budget consultation,” said Eng Kasipo.
Investigations by this reporter revealed that ZETDC projects team visited Gwenhoro dam on Monday 24, January 2022 to assess the transformer purchased by the local authority to enable it to fit water pumps acquired in 2019.
A source who was part of the team said, “We noted that there is need for a crane to put the transformer in position and a transformer MV control panel equipped with at least a 3000A breaker. The existing LV cables at Gwenhoro cannot be used on the new transformer owing to different voltage ratings which affect current carry capacity.”
Gweru is currently paying around $11-30million a month in electricity bills compared to other local authorities like Kwekwe City Council who are paying around $4million RTGS per month.
Pumps and other machinery mainly at Gwenhoro are more than 70 years old and need to be replaced as the city requires about 80 megaliters per day.
Once a reservoir is constructed at the waterworks, the City of Gweru will save up to 60percent of its current electricity bill.
No comment from the Acting Town Clerk Vakayi Chikwekwe as his phone was not being answered by the time of going to press.