Lusaka drainage


The poor drainage in Lusaka has become a source of serious worry.

With the heavy downpour on Saturday and Sunday most streets within Lusaka city centre were totally flooded, making driving not only harzadous but a real danger to both pedestrians and motorists themselves.

It is clear that monies spent on drainage works in the last three years has gone to waste because no discernible change has been experienced.  Most drains are either clogged, narrow or improperly designed with storm water expected to climb inclines.

In many cases the designs of storm drains are poor or literally non-existent, which also means that the lifespan of the new roads is seriously undermined because of the damage that pooled water causes to roads.

This then raises the question of Lusaka engineering inspection.

It is illogical that every year the city must suffer the same flooding while remedial measures could have been taken during the dry season.   Although clearance efforts will be taken, these are unlikely to work because tremendous civil work is required while the blocked drains will now be filled with water,  making any work impractical.

It is also saddening that members of the business community appear indifferent to the drainage problems that confront them every year.  Instead of assisting the council by clearing drainages they would rather wait until their shops and business premises are flooded for them to raise the alarm.

The major drains and arteries are within the premises of prominent business houses, some of which are even involved in the sale of plumbing hardware and yet they will not venture to undertake maintenance before the start of the rainy season.  They would rather wait for the city council to do so and every year now the council does not act and invariably floods occur.

It is also equally disappointing that some of the newly created drains in residential areas, have been covered to create bridges and with the start of the rains now, water has been flowing into houses.  Again, it is the resident themselves to blame for this situation and sometimes those who suffer most are innocent residents, who may have stood by as their neighbours blocked the drains.

There is urgent need for serious civic responsibility for public utilities including drains, culverts, road signs, electrical installations and communal water taps.

It is unfortunate that many of these utilities are vandalized or indeed destroyed by the very citizens who are expected to benefit from them.  Road signs for example are removed by people who use the poles for business or indeed, culverts to make braziers which are then sold leaving roads unmarked or drains uncovered, thereby endangering more people.

Our appeal is for the engineering section of the Lusaka City Council to work closely with the Zambia Police to make sure that vandals abusing public facilities are dealt with severely as a deterrent to others.

Those who steal roofing sheets from bus stations, for example, or those who steal switches and electrical installations from the University Teaching Hospital should be punished for depriving other users and indeed in some cases endangering their lives.