BY Ruvimbo Muchenje
THE City of Harare risks exhausting its underground water reserves soon due to uncontrolled infrastructural development, which has seen people building on wetlands and conducting agricultural activities, water activists have said.
Harare Wetlands Trust said council was exposing residents to an environment disaster through unsustainable use of wetlands by allocating stands on the preserved sites.
Trust official Julia Pierini told NewsDay on the sidelines of the master plan review of Harare City Council yesterday that erecting structures on wetlands and sinking boreholes in such areas reduced the water table and the capital could run dry in the near future.
“Building in wetlands and sinking boreholes cements our wetlands and the ground cannot recharge,” Pierini said, adding that council should work with the approved map and preserve wetlands to avoid this looming disaster.
But council spokesperson, Michael Chideme accused land barons of parcelling out land on wetlands.
“We never allocate stands on wetlands, it is the work of land barons,” he said, while assuring the trust that the local authority was working towards preserving wetlands.
“The city is on a campaign to demolish structures built on wetlands,” Chideme said.
He said building on wetlands had lowered the water table, hence the city had resolved to demolish such illegal structures.
“The water table is now getting lower and lower and people need to drill deeper to access water,” Chideme said. Harare is regarded as a wetland city by environmentalists as it is built on top of a huge water body.