THE rain season has now actively settled in and with each downpour comes the floods, especially in our high density communities. Some of our rural areas have also been affected by severe flooding. Mambwe district in the Eastern province is one such example.
In Lusaka, one of the most affected cities in the nation, floods have recently been experienced in areas like Kaunda Square township, Ngombe Compound, Kabanana Compound, Chaisa Compound, Chawama Compound, Bauleni, Mtendere and Chainda Compounds.
It’s clear from the affected areas that the problem of flooding appears to be synonymous with the overcrowded and unplanned residential places where drainages are either non existent or are not properly maintained.
Take Kaunda Square and Ngombe Townships, for instance, other than the lack of drainages, the community leadership for the area has dubiously allowed some residents to construct houses in the water recharge streams for the Chongwe River which run through the two compounds from the aquifers in the Munali Golf Course and University of Zambia marshlands, respectively.
The development of properties across the two recharge streams has resulted in the blockage of the two water ways hence leading to severe floods in these places once it rains heavily as the run off water has got no where else to flow to other than wherever it could find another way.
It is in fact the same houses built across the recharge streams that have been victims of the floods in Ngombe and Kaunda Square area.
The saddest part is that, Ministry of Water officials are fully aware of these disturbances to the water recharge streams in Kaunda Square and Ngombe compound, just like everywhere else they exist around Lusaka, but have chosen to keep quiet.
Former permanent secretary in the Water Ministry, Bishop Ed Chomba, last year conducted an inspection of structures illegally built across the river recharge water ways and warned that they would be demolished but to date nothing has happened.
Late last year, some residents of Kaunda Square Township also accused bar operators in the area of not paying for refuse collection and instead illegally disposing of the dirty, such as broken beer bottles, along the water recharge streams.
The Lusaka City Council then warned the perpetrators of such illegalities of consequences but to-date nothing has happened, and some of the beer hall operators continue to dispose of their waste in the same manner.
In short, the floods currently being experienced in parts of Lusaka are purely man-made and could have been averted had the officials acted early enough to stop the disturbances to the water drain ways as promised.
For as long as there still continue to be no action from the local authority and other responsible government ministries, the residents simply have to brace for another serious wave of floods this rain season in most high density parts of Lusaka.
We would be remiss if we did not remind the local authorities in various cities and districts, to ensure that waterways are not blocked in any way.
This would save the city from having to deal with floods and the related costs of rebuilding the infrastructure being destroyed by elements.