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The increase in the number of bulk water selling and borehole drilling companies in the city’s leafy suburbs has irked residents who have to put up with noise pollution as most of these companies have set up shops in residential areas.

Bulk water selling and borehole companies are mushrooming in Harare especially along Samora Machel in Belvedere, Borrowdale, Greendale and Eastlea where several residential properties in the low-density suburbs have been converted for commercial use from where the companies are operating their offices, keeping their equipment and vehicles.

Residents of the northern suburbs say while the growth of bulk water supplying companies and borehole drilling firms is attributable to the water shortages in the capital city, the companies have added another problem for them in the form of noise pollution while delivering water or from their premises which are also in residential areas.

Some of the bulk water suppliers are operating illegally and abstracting water from boreholes in residential areas in wanton violation of the Water Act.

Underground water abstraction in the city has impacted negatively some wetlands and led to the drying up of boreholes in residential areas as the companies drill deeper, further depleting the water table.

Water abstraction from sources in residential areas has also been attributed to the water challenges currently being experienced in Harare as the water table keeps getting deeper.

Rentals in upmarket suburbs have become exorbitant due to the fact that some properties have been converted for commercial use and the companies who rent these premises can easily afford the rentals elbowing out tenants looking for residential accommodation.

Roads are being damaged due to the frequent movements of the big trucks which deliver water in residential areas while some of the businesses are the reason for the reported increase in robberies as criminals target them.

A concerned resident Mr Trymore Musare from Belvedere said the council should take action and relocate borehole and bulk water selling companies to industrial sites.

“These companies are causing chaos in our neighbourhood and they must be moved away from the people so that we are not exposed to noise. This is a residential area, not a commercial area,” he said.

Mrs Sally Codington demanded questions on the conversion of residential properties for commercial use.
Borehole Drilling Companies and Bulk Water Delivery Companies Irks Residents
Borehole Drilling Companies and Bulk Water Delivery Companies Irks Residents
“Back then we knew that residential properties were strictly for residential use only but council is willy-nilly converting houses into businesses. Can they explain the process of the conversion and its legality?” she said.

Harare City Council says it has embraced the development of business corridors that have seen some properties located along main roads being converted for commercial use.

Acting council spokesperson Mr Innocent Ruwende said economic corridors were meant to attract and bring business to the city.

“As council, we have embraced the development of corridors along major land use-traffic and transportation corridors as a key development strategy, one of such corridors is the Samora-Machel Avenue East-West,” he said.

“The economic corridors are meant to attract investment and generate economic activities within a contiguous region, on the foundation of an efficient transportation system. They are meant to provide two important inputs for competitiveness, lower distribution costs and promote high-quality real estate.”

Mr Ruwende said the corridor approach for cluster development in cities primarily takes advantage of the existence of proven, inherent and underutilised economic development potential within the region.

“It is intended to create clusters of retail, office, high-residential apartments, vehicle showrooms, corporate offices, professional offices, hotels and lodges, medical facilities and technology and innovation hubs among others.

“The Samora Machel Avenue East-West economic corridor has been unlocked through the Greendale Local Development Plan where properties with direct frontage to Mutare Road have been rezoned to commercial and light industrial uses,” he said.

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