THE Harare Wetlands Trust has urged Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri to intervene and stop the parcelling-out of residential stands and agricultural plots on wetlands to preserve the city’s water table and reduce siltation levels at Lake Chivero.
By Sofia Mapuranga
The trust’s co-ordinator, Julia Pierini, told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that at the current siltation rate of 0,11% per year, the lake might fill up in 42 years if the trend was not controlled.
“The (Environment, Water and Climate) minister has the power to stop developments on wetlands such as the construction of buildings and agricultural activities,” she said.
“We are pleading with her to make that move not for us. but for future generations too.”
Pierini said major rivers, such as Save, were also at risk of siltation because of increased agricultural and human activities in the rivers’ catchment areas.
“We are running short of time because, as it is now, we are fast depleting underground water. Development is essential for the nation, but it should be done in a sustainable manner,” she said.
“Shelter is a right for everyone as guaranteed in the Constitution but houses should not be constructed on wetlands.”
Pierini said because residents who construct their houses on wetlands ended up drilling boreholes and wells, this was further depleting the water table.
“The preservation of wetlands is key since they replenish underground water,” she said.
HWT is an umbrella trust comprising civil society and community-based organisations as well as concerned individuals and residents promoting the conservation of Harare’s wetland ecosystems to ensure sustainable provision of water for Greater Harare.