Gweru chokes under rapid, unplanned settlements: Mayor


The rapid expansion of peri-urban settlements has heavily impacted on provision of water and sewer services, Gweru mayor Josiah Makombe has revealed.

“The current mushrooming of peri-urban settlements, which has put pressure on mainly water and sewer infrastructure is attributed to the absence of an operational master plan,” Makombe said during a service level benchmarking (SLB) peer review meeting on Friday last week.

He noted that there was need for council to come up with a long-term plan to address the expansion and growth of the city, given the growing population and infrastructure capacity.

Makombe, however, indicated that in future the local authority should ensure that the development of new residential stands should fit well into the council’s master plan.

“Here in Gweru, the development of Woodlands suburb has exerted a lot of pressure on the local authority, because there were no prior plans to incorporate its water and waste needs. Going forward, that should be avoided at all costs,” he said.

In 2017, town clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza, said the local authority was working on modalities to adopt a strategic master plan to enable provision of water and sewer services to upcoming residential areas.

The city has in recent years witnessed a sharp increase in development of residential stands, with some encroaching into peri-urban and rural areas.

Experts say the rapid expansion of urban areas has increased demand for water, which has outstripped supply, a situation threatening to affect sanitation and health if not properly handled.

Lately, farmers from peri-urban settlements have been collaborating with some residents to illegally keep domestic animals in high-density suburbs, which they use to ferry firewood and for urban cultivation.

However, the animals, mostly donkeys, have become a nuisance by grazing in horticultural gardens and breaking perimeter walls. In some instances, the animals have caused fatal accidents after straying onto roads.

In a statement, council spokesperson Manford Gambiza said the local authority has since banned domestication of donkeys in the city with immediate effect.

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