Water security dire, ZINWA

-as severe drought looms


The current dry spell being experienced countrywide  has greatly affected the nation’s dam levels, with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) coming up with stringent measures to ensure the sustainable use of the precious liquid.

ZINWA head corporate, communications and marketing manager, Marjorie Munyonga told The Midweek Watch in statement that prolonged dry spell has seen the country’s dam levels going down to just above 50% in some areas.

As a result of the dire situation the water authority is encouraging residents and farmers to use the precious liquid sparingly so that it can last until the next rain season.

“Due to the current dry spell, water levels in major dams have started declining as demand for irrigation water has been picking up as a significant number of farmers are resorting to irrigation to sustain their summer crop.

“As at February 22, 2024, at least 35% more water had been released from the dams for irrigation than in a normal rainy season while the national dam level average had declined to 84. 2% from 84. 4% on February 14, 2024,” said Munyonga.

ZINWA said dam level averages for Mashonaland East, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and the Midlands are currently below the average expected during this time of the year in a normal season.

“Declines in water levels due to increased releases for irrigation have been noted in dams such as Tugwi-Mukosi, Manyuchi, Mazvikadei, Sebakwe, Manyame, Chivero and Osborne,” Zinwa said.

The local authority added that a proportion of cities, towns, growth points and rural service centres whose raw water sources hold sufficient water to last them for a period of at least 21 months now stands at 51. 1%.

While a proportion of centres whose water supply dams have water enough to last between 12 months and 20. 9 months are currently at 38.3%.

“A proportion of 10. 9% of cities, towns, growth points and rural service centres is water insecure with their raw water supply dams holding water that can last them for less than 12 months. The proportion is expected to grow should the current drought conditions persist,” added Munyonga.

Chegutu, Mt Darwin, Figtree, Gwanda, Bulawayo and Mutoko have been identified as the most vulnerable areas.

“These developments point to a very critical water security situation for the country during the year with very limited water available for socio-economic activities such as the upcoming winter cropping season and for domestic purposes,” she said.

The water authority said there is now need for sustainable, efficient and sound management of the limited available water.

“ZINWA is therefore appealing to all individuals and entities intending to draw water from national dams for the winter cropping season to apply for or to renew their water abstraction agreements as required by the law.

“These water abstraction agreements make it possible for ZINWA to properly allocate the available water amongst the competing needs of diverse users and stakeholders,” she said.

ZINWA added that in the interest of food security and safeguarding compliant farmers and other raw water users, no water shall be released from the dams for any individual or entity without a water abstraction agreement while the water authority will intensify its monitoring capabilities to detect any illegal water use.

Farmers and other raw water users have been urged to visit their nearest ZINWA offices for any assistance regarding water abstraction agreements.

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