By Johannes Chin’ombe
Chiredzi, August 25, 2016 – THE sugarcane farming town of Chiredzi is feeling the effects of an ever ballooning population which has led to recurrent sewer pipe bursts in most parts of the town.
Raw sewage spillages have turned some parts of the Lowveld town into an eyesore.
Chiredzi Town Council secretary, Charles Muchatukwa revealed recently that the sewer system which was constructed by the white colonial regime in 1964 was designed for only 9 000 residents but was now serving 55 000 people.
He however noted that council was working to rectify the problem.
“It’s unfortunate that those pipes are old since they were commissioned in 1964 and they were meant for a population of only 9 000 people which was the population of the town by then. Now the population has shot to almost 55 000, something which has led to continuous bursts of the sewage pipes. We are working on that,” Muchatukwa said during a council engagement with residents.
The town’s ever increasing population is attributed to steady migration as people seek to make a living in the sugar industry.
Sugarcane production remains the country’s most thriving industry, operating at 100 percent capacity.
Speaking during the same meeting, residents complained that most of the sewer bursts have resulted in pools of stagnant water.
“The sewer line from West road to Mugandani in Tshovani has for a long time been an eyesore to residents and headache to council due to frequent bursts,” said one resident Nyashadzashe Dzinoreva.
“This has left us residents exposed to water borne diseases. This has made us more exposed to malaria as the stagnant water is a good breeding space for mosquitoes.”
Town Council engineer, Wesley Kauma said the system upgrade needs up to US$1 million.
“A total of at least $US1 million is needed to upgrade the system. Council is already working towards having the funds available so that the problem is amended as soon as possible,” Kauma said.
The country’s sewer and water infrastructure was put up by successive colonial governments and virtually nothing has been done to rehabilitate the system for the past 36 years.