By Staff Reporter
Bulawayo United Residents’ Association has expressed concern over ward 29 residents who artificially cause sewer blockages in order to get “free” water supplies for their gardens.
Ward 29 BURA representative, Christopher Dube said Magwegwe North was replete with sewer bursts and these were being caused by a number of urban farmers in this area, who wanted to benefit from free water for their cultivation projects.
“Residents always complain of burst sewer pipes, the actual causers of this are people who are engaging in farming activities near the main pipes. They insert bricks where pipes connect to block the water so that the pipe bursts.
“After pipe it bursts, they channel the leaking water into their gardens. This is tantamount to vandalism and something should be done by the council before much damage is done,” said Dube.
He said in another area where the residents were blocking sewer pipes, a stream had emanated as a result.
“Given the situation there, massive stream bank cultivation has resulted and this must be abated sooner than later,” said Dube.
He said his organisation has since engaged the ward councillor Monica Lubimbi who promised to take it up with the local authority.
“She indicated that some residents had also brought similar concerns before her, so she promised that she will inform her counterparts in council.”
Quizzed on how the residents use sewage water, Dube said they had come up with ways of sifting the water from solid waste.
“Along one of the streams, some people dug a very huge hole which they use as a reservoir for the water they trap from the blocked pipes. This hole is five metres deep and it is a danger to children in the neighbourhood,” said Dube.
When this reporter visited the area, some of the residents were seen watering their gardens but refused to be interviewed.
According to Act 12/73 of Bulawayo (Protection of Lands and Natural Resources) by-laws of 1984, cultivation of undesignated areas is prohibited and discouraged at all costs.
Stream bank cultivation attracts a fine or crops shall be destroyed by council workers and no compensation shall be paid.