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Zimbabwe: $33 million African Development Bank clean water and sanitation project nears completion

An investment of $33 million by the African Development Bank (AFDB) for a water and sewerage improvement project in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe has entered its final phase and is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2020.

The main goal of the Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) is to rehabilitate and renovate water production treatment facilities, water distribution, sewer drainage networks and wastewater treatment disposal facilities in the southwestern part of the city.

Administered by the government of Zimbabwe through the Bulawayo City Council, the project is intended to further the health and social wellbeing of its population and to ensure that  safe water access and cleaner waste collection eventually become a reality for vulnerable communities in that region. Currently, less than 50% of the sewage generated in the city is  collected, and exposure to contamination is significant.

Mr. Damoni Kitabire, Country Manager for AFDB’s Zimbabwe office said:

“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.”

Like many urban areas in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo has been affected by a lack of real investment over time in its water and sewerage infrastructure maintenance, including inefficient and old pumps and treatment works; non-functional sewer systems and frequent instances of contaminated pipe water. Also frequent drought conditions have caused water scarcity in the area.

Engineer Simela Dube, Director Engineering Services for the Bulawayo City Council said:

“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 kilometer to get water.”

Since the BWSSIP was launched in 2015 the following have been achieved:

  • 4 pumps have been replaced
  • 141 km of network in Magwegwe and Criterion reservoir areas rehabilitated
  • Water mains have been upgraded ,renewed or replaced
  • Two wastewater treatment facilities have been rehabilitated
  • 18 km sewer lines have been replaced


AFDB has made the rehabilitation of water and sanitation in Zimbabwe one of its priorities since the outbreak of a cholera epidemic in 2008/09 and the Improvement Project (BWSSIP) is an extension of the Bank’s efforts to stabilize and improve water supply and sanitation services in that region.

Bulawayo’s mayor, Solomon Mguni said:

“Now we will have safe water and a cleaner environment. Things are getting better and will never be the same.”

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