Beitbridge expansion an environmental time bomb

Beitbridge municipality has been cautioned against the continued expansion of residential settlements west of Dulivhadzimo, as this is threatening the town’s supply dams.


An environmentalist said the water reservoirs are under threat from wood poachers and further residential expansion west of Dulivhadzimo high-density suburb would further harm the dams.

“If houses are to be developed upstream of the dams, the obvious sad story of Harare comes to mind. Rather Beitbridge develops along Harare road to save the dams from imminent threats,” the environmentalist, a government employee who is not authorised to speak to the media, said.

At the moment it only takes three chemicals to purify Beitbridge’s water, which makes it cheaper.

Beitbridge, due to rapid growth, has settlements sprouting along Bulawayo Road that are slowly encroaching into the catchment area of the dams.

Although the dams draw water from the Limpopo River there is a likelihood sewer or silt flowing into the dams if houses are built upstream.

Such is the case with Harare’s supply source Lake Chivero, downstream of the town resulting in uncontrolled pollution of the water source by both industry and residents.

It takes more than six chemicals to clean Harare’s water and the plant is usually clogged.

“If no proper measures to guard against that are taken Beitbridge will soon find itself in that boat. Planners of this town must learn from Harare’s sad situation,” the environmentalist said.

Beitbridge acting town clerk, Loud Ramagkapola said council was aware of the situation and expansion plans could be redirected.

“We would like to expand eastwards along the Limpopo River banks and up north. We can avoid endangering the dams,” he said.

Municipal officials recently surveyed the eastern side of Beitbridge along the Limpopo, where a new upmarket suburb is being planned.

The new suburb will sit on the foot of two hills overlooking the border town.

Meanwhile, explorations have begun for the establishment of a town at Lutumba some 20km north of Beitbridge along Harare Road.

Lutumba vilagers will be relocated when planners move in.

“Our councillor has been advising us of the development. It changes our living patterns, but we have to embrace growth,” a villager, Big Ndlovu said.

Beitbridge Rural District Council chief executive, Peter Moyo confirmed the development.

“We have started consultations because we foresee the small settlement expanding soon,” he said.

“People displaced will be relocated and compensated for their houses, but at the moment things are just on the drawing board.”

Ward councillor, Jonas Ndou said the development would uplift community members’ lives.

Lutumba sits on the main road to the Transfrontier Park shared by Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

It is also on the route to the Beitbridge Colliery, 100 kilometres east of the border town and the proposed site of a new border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

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