THE City of Harare has resolved that all new cluster housing developers must upgrade sewer and water systems to relieve pressure from the existing infrastructure.
Chairperson of the Environment Management Committee Councillor Blessing Duma said developers were now required to submit plans showing water and sewer systems will be upgraded before the municipality approve the building plans.
“What we have now emphasised and resolved is that every cluster house, every extension, every (new cluster) house that is going to be done, the permit has now been conditioned that you must upgrade your sewer systems and your water systems because we have seen that some of the blockages and problems of water are because people when they are doing their plans they are not upgrading the system.
“So we have decided at the moment to make sure every permit has got that to upgrade your sewer system and upgrade your water system,” said Councillor Duma.
He said the upgrading will enable the existing infrastructure to be able to handle the additional load.
“The reason for upgrading is let’s say that your place had one house and now you want 5 cluster houses, it means that the water system and the sewer system they will be under pressure. So for you to upgrade them means you will be relieving pressure from them and pressure from various other systems, water systems and sewer systems,” Cllr Duma said.
Ward 17 residents in Mt Pleasant are objecting to the planned development of 80 three-storey flats at Number 47 and 49 Edinburgh Road arguing the flats will overstretch the current water and sewer systems.
In September last year, Harare Mayor Councillor Jacob Mafume said densification was the in thing. In 2020, Government approved the Zimbabwe National Human Settlements Policy (ZNHSP) to guide human settlements development in the country and densification, which will see the development of flats, cluster houses and sub-division of low density stands, is one of the highlights of the policy.
Harare residents have been complaining that the densification was not taking into consideration the fact that water, sewer, roads and electricity infrastructure as well as social services such as schools and health facilities have not been expanding at the same rate.
Cllr Mafume said people are no longer interested in colonial house sizes, colonial yards and having swimming pools at all the houses in one street.
“People have compact families and now want to live in compact neighbourhoods with a lot of neighbours and smart and secure places. They no longer want space.
“They are looking at their computers, TV screens and so forth,” said Cllr Mafume.
He said people used to be fascinated by building industrial-sized homes with toilets everywhere.
“That’s no longer in style.
“People are no longer interested in big yards so densification is a reality.
“Even in my ward, Ward 17, there are thousands and thousands of people who are converting their places into cluster houses and cluster houses are coming,” said Cllr Mafume.
He said there is need to develop the sewer infrastructure as some of the areas were using septic tanks and there is need to start laying new pipes.
“So we are going to work out how we can make the cost paid to these people and we now need to provide a whole lot more water and we now need to collect rubbish more regularly because clearly there are now more people staying in one yard than what was happening,” said Cllr Mafume.
He said planning is organic.
“There might have been a plan for 1982 but when people want to do development, they send circulars.
“So what they do is you can have plans within a plan.
“And now these plans and new phenomenon of cluster homes means that every time they consult you, that’s a new plan and a variation to the plan,” said Cllr Mafume.
He urged residents to play particular attention to the zoning of the city and adverts flighted in the media so that they can keep abreast of the planning regime to ensure the processes are conducted procedurally.