Anyone visiting Bulawayo from next week will be surprised to hear a chorus of toilet flushes for 30 minutes every morning and night.
This is because the municipality of Zimbabwe’s second largest city will introduce a “big flush” – the simultaneous flushing of toilets – for 30-minute periods between 6am and 6.30am and between 8pm and 8.30pm.
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.