AS flash floods continue to hit parts of the second capital city, the Bulawayo City Council (BCC), in an effort to prevent the recurrence of flooding, has warned residents against obstructing the free flow of water.
BY SILAS NKALA
Town clerk Christopher Dube yesterday said council was raising public awareness that under Part VIII of the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18], owners, occupiers or users of any land are obliged to take all reasonable steps to ensure that water is not prevented, obstructed or impeded from draining into, onto, under or through their land from a public road and water, soil or other material from flowing or falling onto a public road from their land.
“Owners, occupiers or users of any land may also be liable if accidents occur as a result of water being prevented from draining off a public road into, onto, under or through their land, or water, soil or other material flowing or escaping from their land onto a public road,” Dube said.
“Particular attention should be taken to ensure compliance with these obligations, and with ensuring that all entrances over drains are adequate and allow the free flow of water (for example weep holes in property boundary walls, adequately culverted or piped).”
Dube said council may serve a notice under the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18] and/or the Environmental Management Act [Chapter 20:27] on the owners, occupiers or users of any land who do not comply with these requirements.
“It is an offence not to comply with such a notice, or with any planning enforcement notice, which if pursued through the courts may result in prosecutions and fines,” he said.
“Please, further note that without the consent of Bulawayo City Council, it is an offence to scour, deepen, widen or fill in any existing drain or excavate any new drain within the boundary of a public road, interfere with, or carry out any works which interfere with a bridge, culvert, retaining wall, embankment or other structure providing lateral or other support for a public road.”
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The town clerk said this did not apply to the ordinary maintenance of drains which the owner, occupier or user of any land is required to carry out to ensure water is not prevented from draining from the public road or to prevent water, soil or other material flowing or falling onto a public road.
“It is also an offence under the Roads Act [Chapter 13:18] to deposit materials on a public road, or to permit mud or anything that falls from a vehicle to remain on the public road, so as to cause a hazard or potential hazard to road users, or to obstruct or interfere with the safe use of the road,” Dube warned.
“Residents are also advised that in the event of flooding, they should call the fire brigade immediately …”
Bulawayo, like other towns and cities, including Harare, have over the years experienced flooding due to blocked drainage systems as vendors and other residents dump litter in manholes, obstructing the flow of rain water.