CHIREDZI Town Council chairperson Gibson Hwende has proposed a ban on vegetable gardens and car wash businesses in the town, alleging that they were contributing to the water crisis.
BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Hwende said this during a stakeholders meeting to discuss the water crisis in the town, where he proposed that by-laws would soon be crafted to ban urban farming.
“I have walked around high-density suburbs and have seen a lot of vegetable gardens. I would propose that we craft a by-law to ban them,” Hwende said.
“This should also apply to those running car washes in the residential areas. I am aware that 80% of water meters are not-working and that makes it difficult to bill residents for water used,” he said.
Acting town engineer, Irvine Muteyaunga also supported the idea of coming up with a by-law to ban vegetable gardens.
Muteyaunga went on to blame council’s obsolete equipment for water problems that have dogged the town for years.
“Our water works was established in 1966 and is now so old that it no longer has the capacity to cater for the ballooning 2020 population. We also have people who are stealing water from the main line and there are a lot of leakages on our water pipes. The other issue is of water tanks, but we cannot do anything about it because we don’t have by-laws on those,” Muteyaunga said.
United Chiredzi Residents and Ratepayers Association programmes officer, Constance Chikumbo said banning urban gardens was inhumane and insensitive to the plight of residents.
“Targeting vegetable gardens is totally wrong and inhumane because we all know that in each ward there are boreholes which are the source of water for those gardens.
“Our problem is caused by failure to distribute water by the administration not vegetable gardens. Let us have working meters in areas where there is water so that every consumer is billed according to the amount of water used,” Chikumbo said.
Vegetable gardens started sprouting in every corner of the town after President Emmerson Mnangagwa promulgated the introduction of a national lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus in March this year.
Chiredzi town has perennial water problems, resulting in residents waking up as early as 2am to look for water.
The situation is so dire that last year, a woman was raped while looking for water at a nearby borehole. A man was stabbed to death by robbers while looking for water and a minor drowned in an open well trying to draw water.
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