Harare City Council is pumping wastewater to irrigate grazing pastures at Ingwe and Crowborough farms, posing a health hazard to illegal settlers occupying the farms.
Council warned the settlers, mid this year, against their continued stay on the farms saying it intended to pump wastewater there to irrigate the grazing pastures. It urged the settlers to move out to avoid contracting diseases like typhoid, cholera and diarrhoea, among others. Harare acting corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the pumping of the wastewater onto the farms follows the successful upgrading of Firle and Crowborough Wastewater plants.
“The city keeps several thousands of cattle on the farms that graze the pastures irrigated by the wastewater. If the wastewater is not used to irrigate the pastures — it means the city would be discharging the waste water into the river systems, further polluting the city’s water sources.
“There is a clear buffer zone between human settlements and the farms to protect residents from the dangers associated with wastewater,” he said. He said the illegal settlers defied council by settling on grazing pastures and they were at risk of contracting diseases. Mr Chideme said the city would also engage the police to pursue individuals who vandalised wastewater reticulation infrastructure at the farms.
At least 83 illegal housing co-operatives invaded the two council farms occupying 80 hectares while several attempts to occupy Pension Farm were thwarted by Harare Water Loss Control and some individuals from the army. It is believed that over 800 people erected structures, raising fears of a health hazard. Council has warned it would soon evict the invaders and destroy their structures at Crowborough and Ingwe farms, where the local authority plans to build new sewer ponds.
The city said the invaders were blocking council livestock from grazing and residents in areas such as Budiriro and Kuwadzana were now killing straying cattle in the area. Council has five farms — Crowborough (1 204 hectares), Pension (800 hectares), Churu (264 hectares), Ingwe (1 400 hectares) and Porta (100 hectares).Crowborough, Pension and Ingwe farms have some cattle, while Churu and Porta are lying idle.