Decentralized domestic wastewater systems in developing countries: the case study of Harare (Zimbabwe)

Until recently there has been little, if any, concern over revamping let alone improving wastewater management system in Zimbabwe’s urban areas given the dominance and institutionalised water-borne system. Yet, the current constraints in this system and the immensity of urbanisation in the country begs and compels planners, engineers and systems thinkers to rethink what best can work as a sustainable wastewater system. With particular reference to the ever-expanding Harare metropolitan region, this article provides an evaluative analysis on the potentiality, risks and strategies that can be adopted by Harare and its satellites in addressing the problems of the conventional wastewater management system. The suggested framework of operation is a decentralised domestic wastewater collection and treatment system which however has its own multifarious risks. Using systems dynamics conceptualisation of the potentiality, opportunities, risks and strategies, the paper seeks to model the path and outcomes of this decentralised domestic wastewater collection and treatment system and also suggests a number of policy measures and strategies that the city of Harare and its satellites can adopt.

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