By OpenCouncilHRE reporter
Fertiliser manufacturer, Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries (Zimphos), has been dragged to court by an environmental group over its excessive use of Cleveland Dam.
Advocates for Earth and Haka Game Park have approached the High Court with an urgent chamber application seeking to stop Zimphos from the excessive abstraction of water from the Cleveland dam.
The applicants also cited EMA, Upper Manyame Catchment Council, ZINWA and the City of Harare since “public bodies are statutorily obliged to monitor, receive reports and make sustainable decisions over water abstraction from Cleveland Dam”.
In an interview with the OpenCouncilHRE, Advocates for Earth Director Tinashe Chisaira said the legal challenge has been precipitated by the status of Cleveland dam as a Ramsar site which needs protection.
“Cleveland Dam is one of Zimbabwe’s seven designated wetland sites under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
“In late September, information reached Advocates4Earth that Zimphos, a phosphate production company was abstracting excessive and unsustainable amounts of water from the dam.
This it said, “is threatening the continued survival of the wetland as well as of marine, avian and other wildlife that depend on the water,”revealed Chisaira.
Chisaira said preliminary investigations show that Zimphos has not submitted any Environmental Impact Assessment with regards to water abstraction from Cleveland Dam as required by the law in Section 97 of the Environmental Management Act.
Cleveland dam is popular for its recreational facilities and the two organisations believe if Zimphos continue its activities unchecked it will lead to damaging effects on these.
“The eco-tourism activities such as canoeing and game viewing at Haka Game Park and on Cleveland Dam are also at serious risk of being destroyed by the water abstraction,” indicated the organisations in the court papers.