Gaborone residents are requesting more long-term answers to the frequent issues caused by overflowing storm drains. Some locals are now concerned that stagnant puddles of water could contaminate domestic water supplies, harm water supply infrastructure, and serve as a breeding ground for disease vectors.
Social media was flooded over the past few weeks with images and videos of rain pelting down, flooding the streets with so much water that vehicles stalled and police closed down traffic close to the Segoditshane River. Some even displayed motorists leaving their vehicles on flooded roadways.
Some locals have hit their breaking point with the situation, and they have taken to social media to criticise the city’s drainage system for flooding some residential areas, destroying bridges and roads, and causing property damage.
The danger of locals contracting malaria increases because poorly managed storm water serves as a mosquito breeding ground. Stormwater removal is a crucial environmental health intervention for lowering disease, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UN’s specialized body in charge of global public health. “In areas where drainage and sanitation are poor, water runs over the ground during rainstorms, picks up faeces and contaminates water sources. This contributes significantly to the spread of diseases such as typhoid and cholera, and may increase the likelihood of contracting worm infections from soil contaminated by faeces,” says WHO.
People who spoke to this publication last week indicated that they were upset with the authorities as they believe the storm drains haven’t been maintained and this has become a perennial problem.
“The flooded storm drains are putting an alarming number of people, particularly children, in danger of drowning. The council should have no trouble solving the fatal issue, but tragedy keeps happening,” says a mother of two who lives in Old Naledi.
A hawker expressed her sadness over the flooding of one side of Rail Park and the slow drainage of rainwater, which left people stranded in their vehicles on flooded roads. In one of the recordings she had on her phone, some residents in Old Naledi could be seen attempting to sweep water out of their homes. “The council must send out workers more frequently to maintain the drains. It appears that the officials are no longer concerned,” she said on condition of anonymity.
The Gaborone City Council (GCC) previously acknowledged that, despite ongoing maintenance of the city’s drains, significant flooding problems exist in both residential areas and public roads due to inadequate drainage systems that are frequently clogged by waste. The also noted that debris, trees, and water reeds frequently obstruct and disturb water movement, resulting in floods.
According to some experts, the council is not surveying the country’s aging stormwater drainage systems, which are being strained to capacity by record rainfall. They also claim that residents must do their part because, in some cases, they are responsible for clogging drainage systems by dumping waste.