Urban floods

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IT is now clear that the issue of urban floods is a natiinal matter.
Yesterday, Vice President WK Mutale Nalumango toured Lusaka’s Kanyama township and advised citizens that Government stood ready to address natural disasters which the rains bring.
The Vice President said immediate solutions are being formulated to prevent flooding in Lusaka.
Mrs. Nalumango said the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) and the Zambia National Service (ZNS) are already working on a number of drainages.
She says permanent solutions however need to be found to stop the flooding that is experienced every year.
Mrs. Nalumango who has attributed the problem over the years to poor city planning says civil servants should work at finding permanent solutions and not wait on politicians to find these solutions because politicians come and go.
She adds that it is unfortunate that there are encroachments on drainage lines.
The Vice President was speaking when she inspected drainages in Lusaka.
She said going forward, it is important that residents and companies do not put up structures in flood prone areas and recharge zones to avoid blocking the smooth flow of water.
Just last week a media report showed how some traders had blocked drainages with heaps of sand that they were trading in.
Last year, the Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA) attributed the floods being experienced in Lusaka to the continued construction works in wetlands and water recharge zones.
In a statement, ZIA president Bwalya Masabo said that the continued construction in wetlands was being done with total disregard of the laws of nature.
He stated new developments in these wetlands had introduced hard surfaces to the environment that prevented the proper percolation of water to the underground, resulting in a reduction in the amount of water recharging in the aquifers.
“The Zambia Institute of Architects (ZIA) notes with concern the constant flooding of our roads and communities, mainly in Lusaka, due to the failure of the drainage systems or lack of existing drainage systems. While there may be short term and long-term solutions to having this rectified, the Institute would like to draw the attention of the public and local authorities to the following critical matters in the built environment, if we are to achieve meaningful and sustainable solutions: Water Recharge Zones; the preservation of wetlands, forests and water recharge areas is critical to the sustainability of our environment. Part of the reasons we continue to experience extensive floods in Lusaka is that over the years, construction projects have been commissioned in areas that historically had been wetlands and water recharge zones,” Masabo stated.
“Additionally, new developments in these areas have been executed with total disregard of the laws of nature. Such developments have introduced hard surfaces to the environment that prevent the proper percolation of water to the underground thereby resulting in a reduction in the amount of water recharging our aquifers. It is therefore critical that these areas are preserved and further, developers and designers need to embrace green sustainable practices in construction; such as a reduction in paved surfaces, the avoidance of plastic membranes under paving stones, rain water harvesting and planting of trees, among others.”
The drainage systems in many residential areas are already choked by plastic bottles and garbage.
Areas such a Lusaka’s Kuku, Chawama, Kanyama and Makeni area have already experienced flood waters and lingering pools of stagnant water just after a single downpour and so one cannot imagine the devastation that days of rain will create.
This on top of the perennial threat of malaria, cholera and other water borne diseases.
We must ensure that we play our part in keeping drainanges clear to protect the at risk communities from the impending disaster of urban floods.

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