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Water board official vows to bring sanity

03 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Water board official vows to bring sanity Mr Wilson Mhuri

Suburban

Ivan Zhakata and Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporters

BORROWDALE Ratepayers and Residents Association (BRRA) committee member Mr Wilson Mhuri has been elected as the new vice chairperson of the Nyagui Sub-Catchment Council Board and immediately vowed to bring back sanity in the northern suburbs by fighting abstraction of water in residential areas for commercial purposes by bulk water suppliers.

 Mr Mhuri — who was a member of the council- was elected at the council’s annual general meeting held on November 25, 2021 at the Rainbow Towers in Harare.

Nyagui Sub-Catchment Council is a statutory body established as per the Water Act, 1998 and Statutory Instrument 47 of 2000.

Its functions include inter alia regulating and supervising the exercise of permits for the use of water including underground water within the area of jurisdiction.

In an interview, Mr Mhuri said his role remained as before except that he was now part of the executive.

“Our role as a water authority involves ensuring an equitable and sustainable distribution of water to all sectors and or users in our catchment area,” he said. 

“This includes but not limited to monitoring water use, both surface and underground water, catchment protection, dispute resolution and consensus building. As you may be aware, most urban areas are having conflicts which involve water use due mostly to illegal bulk water suppliers who are abstracting water in residential areas for commercial purposes. 

“However, our role is not to fight or punish water users but rather to educate different players on issues to do with a sustainable way of using water. One of our priorities especially in residential areas is provision of water for domestic purposes as opposed to commercial use through bulk water operations,” said Mr Mhuri.

The newly elected vice chairman of the Nyagui Sub Catchment Council Board vowed to bring back sanity in the northern Suburbs through prioritising water for domestic use and protecting underground water from abuse. 

Mr Mhuri promised to work with law enforcement agencies to make sure there is sanity in residential areas. 

He said he looked forward to having more time on awareness campaigns where information is shared with their stakeholders concerning water permit applications and how people can safeguard water.

The Nyagui council official said as a sub-catchment council they would also find ways to work with various stakeholders especially with regard to wetlands protection. 

 “As you may be aware, majority of residents in northern suburbs depend on borehole water for domestic use. The unfortunate incidences where illegal bulk water operations are continuing in these areas should be addressed and the law should take its course,” he said.

“There is need to prioritise water for domestic use and we should protect underground water from abuse. We welcome the Government efforts to protect wetlands thereby providing an opportunity for ground water recharge as opposed to the continuous abstraction of ground water for commercial purposes,” said Mr Mhuri.

He commended the recently approved wetlands policy saying it is a welcome development and all progressive minds should support the initiative. 

“The Government’s approach to wetlands is commendable and we applaud them for coming up with a wetland policy. However, the Government should go beyond having a policy and make sure our wetlands are surveyed and mapped. This will enable the demarcation of these wetlands as red zones where no development is allowed,” Mr Mhuri said.

However, he said that there is need for wetlands to be mapped and marked as red zones to stop any disturbances on these areas especially from property developers. 

A few months ago, Cabinet approved the National Wetlands policy and guidelines which will guide wetlands management for incorporation in development planning by various stakeholders.

 “The approved National Wetlands policy and guidelines will guide wetlands management for incorporation in development planning by Government, the private sector and development partners, traditional Leaders, communities and individuals. The policy will facilitate the establishment of an effective and efficient institutional and legal framework for integrated management and enhance capacity building within relevant institutions involved in the management of wetlands.

“Government will designate all wetlands as areas that are unsuitable for settlement, gazette all ecologically sensitive wetlands, undertake orderly relocation of people in order to pave way for the rehabilitation of wetlands and enforce the requirement for Environmental Management Agency certification for any developments in sensitive wetlands. There shall be efficient measures for waste management from point of source, with stiff penalties being imposed for the offence of discharging waste into wetlands,” Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a media briefing.

Government will also establish wetland education centres countrywide, set up functional local wetland management institutions, restore the powers of traditional leaders in wetland management and strengthen legislation to protect various habitats found on wetlands.

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