August 14, 2019

Harare constructing itself out of water

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Patience Nhamburo

Environmentalists in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital have raised a red flag over the continued construction of residential houses and businesses on wetlands, which they say has resulted in the drying up of boreholes in the city.

A spot check by ZTN revealed that water supplies from boreholes in Harare’s suburbs of Sentosa, Monavale, Mabelreign and Marlborough have become erratic and in some cases have dried up. This has worsened the water crisis in the city, where residents are enduring long periods without treated water.

Dorothy Wakeling of Conservation Society of Monavale (Cosmo) and Lawrence Kuleya of Harare Wetlands Trust, say the water situation in Harare is critical.

 “We urge council to stop allowing people to build houses on wetlands which provide us with water. Continuous construction will speed up the process of our boreholes drying up and we do not want that,” Kuleya said.

According to a survey conducted by Cosmo, most of Harare’s 29 wetlands have been turned into residential areas.

‘’Areas like Monavale and Sentosa used to have so much water but because of new settlements on wetlands boreholes are drying up and residents are facing difficulties in getting water from their boreholes,” said Wakeling.

The Harare Wetlands Trust pleaded with the Harare City Council to stop granting licenses to land developers who intend to start construction projects on wetlands.

Wetlands play an important role of storing and filtering fresh water into streams which flow into Lake Chivero, Harare’s main source of drinking water. However, continued allocation of residential stands in wetlands has severely affected the water table in the areas, leading to the drying up of water sources.

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