Technical constraints to urban wastewater management in Zimbabwe
Ngwenya, Shepherd T
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In urban areas of Zimbabwe, wastewater management receives less attention than water supply. Wastewater management should promote the recycling and reuse of sewage effluent without causing harm to public health and the environment. A research study was carried out from January to June 2013 on the 32 urban areas of Zimbabwe. Its main objective was to assess the extent of technical constraints for improved wastewater management in urban areas of Zimbabwe through performance measurement. A structured questionnaire was used for data collection and was administered by the researcher. The senior officers of urban local authorities were the targeted respondents. In addition, Focus Group Discussions and key informant interviews with senior wastewater treatment operators were carried out in the field, technicians and superintendents. This was done in order to understand how their systems were working and the challenges faced. The results obtained from the research revealed that all councils were having difficulties in providing adequate wastewater management services. The coverage of toilets for all councils was 83.3% on average. Other indicators, were the coverage of sewerage network services at 68.7%, efficiency of collection of sewage at 27.4%, meaning that a considerable amount of sewage was not reaching sewage treatment plants; adequacy of capacity for treatment of sewage at 161.5%, meaning that with limited supply of water they are receiving less than they can treat because of water shortages, quality of sewage treatment at 4.3% and the extent of recycling or reuse at 2.9%. There was also a shortage in staffing, with an average of only 2 employees per 1,000 connections of sewerage compared to a recommended international standard of 8 employees per 1,000 connections. It was concluded that the sanitation coverage in Zimbabwe in 2012 was low. Most waste stabilization ponds lacked maintenance though operational. The study recommends that more low cost technologies like waste stabilization ponds and constructed wetlands, which are easier to maintain, be adopted for all urban areas. There is also a need to market and reuse wastewater for non-potable uses. Further studies should be carried out to explore and find opportunities of reusing wastewater in industries and irrigation.
Improved Sanitation Coverage
Sewage Treatment Capacity