A report from the Pangani Water basin, tabled here during the just ended “National Water Week,” warned that Arusha is on the verge of sinking because underneath the city’s structure, there are hollow bunkers which keep increasing with each new building which gets constructed in town.
Whether it is a hotel building, business property or residential premises, each of the many real estate developments taking place here, is always accompanied by adjacent water wells, drilled or excavated randomly as owners join the long list of people who already have their own, on-site water wells from which they get to pump or draw the precious liquid which is becoming scarce in town.
However by doing so, experts point out that hollow bunkers are being created beneath the City’s ground surface and these gaping caves keep increasing at an alarming rate, threatening the earth stability.
Though the advice seems to have escaped many people here but the truth of the matter is that per every new building mushrooming in town, there is a large pit filled with water underneath. And the triggering effect does not have to come from far; it is very well known that Tanzania’s active volcano; “Oldonyo Lengai” is just a stone throw from Arusha and the Mountain has always been the source of tremors that rocked the entire East African region.
So, when the ground eventually becomes too loose and then saggy, due to the hollow bunkers crisscrossing underneath the city, as well as the water contained in them, it will just take a mild earthquake from Lengai and - Goodbye Arusha. Only last week the Municipal Director Mr Estomih Chang’a called upon the people of Arusha to report at the city hall and help municipal fathers with suggestions in the current efforts to review, and possibly correct, the city’s master plan. Rather too late! For many years the local authorities have been busy sleeping, stuffing the town’s guiding by-laws under their pillows.
As they snored on, buildings started mushrooming here haphazardly, filling each and every available open space, including playgrounds, roads and encroaching even official highways’ reserves. By the time the city fathers woke from their deep slumber, tens of thousands of newly built structures had sprouted out in town overnight and by the time the coffee smell hit their nostrils, nearly 80 per cent of all these city buildings were standing on pieces of land that were never surveyed, others covering reserved spaces once meant for either public use or environment conservation.
Greyish structures of steel, bricks and concrete filled every inch of what used to be Tanzania’s greenest town, turning it into a claustrophobic district. The uncontrolled real-estate development zest killed public parks, annihilated playgrounds, invaded road reserves and sprawled onto river banks, some going to an extent of diverting the courses of the natural flowing water.