Forty metres from Ms Wendy Bosha’s home in Dzivarasekwa, lies a raw sewage “pool”. It stinks! As if that is not enough, inside Wendy’s residence there is a water tap and right next to it, there is a sewage stream flowing into a nearby vegetable garden.
It has become an everyday experience for Wendy and other residents of Dzivarasekwa, a high-density suburb in Harare.
“It has been like this for more than five years,” said Wendy. “The situation is bad especially at my house because when neighbours flush their toilets into the sewer system, the sewage accumulates here, which is next to our water tap. As a result, we only use the water from the tap for laundry purposes and fetch drinking water from a close-by borehole for fear of contracting water-borne diseases,” she said.
Wendy says she worries about her health and that of her sister’s five children whom she is looking after. The children like playing in and outside the yard but she is forced to always keep a watchful eye to keep them from playing in the sewage. Section 4 of the country’s Environment Management Act of 2005, guarantees everyone the right to a clean environment that is not harmful to their health.
Dilapidated sewer systems coupled with population increase in Harare has contributed in raw sewage being discharged into the environment, consequently, polluting it and contaminating the capital city’s main raw water source, Lake Chivero.
To help improve wastewater management in some parts of Harare, ZimFund Urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project (UWSSRP) under Phase II is rehabilitating seven (7) sewage pump stations namely; Old Marlborough, New Marlborough, Marlborough Irrigation and Redroofs, Chisipite, Avonlea, and North-Eastern Commonage benefiting a population of approximately 180 000. Other works include rehabilitation of sewage ponds at Marlborough, provision of Operation and Maintenance Management sewage reticulation stock materials, and rehabilitation of 6km outfall sewers at Mufakose, Marimba river crossing and sealing manholes.
The rehabilitation of the 6km outfall sewer is aimed at removing sewage from people’s houses. Beneficiaries include residents of Dzivarasekwa, Kuwadzana, part of Mufakose and Crowborough serving a population of more than 200 000. The works are expected to be completed before year end. It is hoped that Wendy’s household and other Harare residents in the areas mentioned above who are facing the same problems will once again have a breath of fresh air like other urban residents.
“We are grateful for what ZimFund is doing because we have had enough of sewage,” says Wendy.
Harare also benefited from the first phase of ZimFund UWSSRP, which saw the rehabilitation of Firle Wastewater Treatment Works, Crowborough Wastewater Treatment Works, Little Marimba Trunk Sewer and supply of sewer cleaning vehicles. While the first phase focused on the root causes of pollution problems to the environment, which are, rehabilitation of sewage treatment works infrastructure, Phase II seeks to further the benefits and impact of the first phase by dealing with sewer bursts and to ultimately remove sewage from people’s homes. It is important to note that a lot still needs to be done towards infrastructure investment in Harare city as a whole. ZimFund efforts alone may not lead to the desired outcome.
ZimFund is a US$145 million Water and Sanitation, and Energy programme established in 2010 after the 2008 Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. The contributing donors are Australia, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
ZimFund is administered by the African Development Bank as part of its operations to improve the quality of life in Zimbabwe. The African Development Bank Group supports other activities in Zimbabwe which include; agriculture, energy, transport, private sector and economic and financial governance.