Water shortages worry government
AS the strongest El Nino induced drought continues to develop, the country’s dam levels remain at 51 percent.
An assessment of the country’s major resevoirs shows that dams are not yet full despite the current rainfall received throughout the country.
Presenting the 2016/2017 drought disaster domestic and international appeal Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said dam levels were declining due to poor rainfall and the national average was 51,1 percent.
“All the catchment areas are below expected levels for this time of the year except for Manyame and Mazowe. Runde catchment is the lowest at 27,4 percent and boreholes are drying up particularly in the southern provinces, while 31 percent are non-functional, hence people and livestock have to move in excess of five kilometres in search of water,” Mnangagwa said.
A total of 15 000 boreholes need rehabilitation and 160 more need to be drilled.
“It is therefore clear that there is a threat to human and animal life as safe water, irrigation water and drinking water sources for animals are increasingly drying up.”
The drought has affected the whole country, with the most affected being the traditionally low rainfall regions four and five and even the traditionally food secure provinces of Mashonaland are also facing shortages.
These provinces lie in regions one, two and three.
“All cities, municipalities and urban settlements will have to endure prolonged water rationing schedules. In addition, the reduced water levels will drastically affect electricity generation at the country’s hydro-power points,” Mnangagwa added.
As of February 2016, which is usually the peak of the rainfall season, over 95 percent of the country had received less than 75 percent of what they would normally receive.
The least amounts have been recorded in Binga, Lupane, Tsholotsho, Zaka and Buffalo Range.
Of the 160 new boreholes that need to be drilled, government would require funding for 15 new boreholes in Mashonaland East, 10 in Mashonaland West, 15 in Mashonaland Central, 10 in Manicaland, 30 each in Masvingo, Matabeleland South and North and 20 new boreholes in Midlands.
The 15 000 boreholes that need rehabilitation would cost government US$7,5 million with Mashonaland East requiring US$1,1 million to rehabilitate 2 250 boreholes. The Midlands province would be refurbishing 2 000 boreholes for US$ 1 million and Manicaland, Matabeleland North, South, Mashonaland West and Masvingo would all need US$875 000 for the refurbishment of 1 750 boreholes
Repairs, maintenance and tools require US$147 000.
Besides the emergency safe water supply programme, government also requires US$350 million for the emergency irrigation rehabilitation and production programme which focuses on the rehabilitation of 10 000 hectares of communal irrigation scheme. This will cost US$42 million.
The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services is also part of the irrigation rehabilitation programme, requiring US$1,7 million for the emergency rehabilitation of 1 140 hectares, while the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) will need US$7 million for the rehabilitation of 1 200 hectares at ARDA Estates.
Government has also factored in the provision of water for the country’s wildlife, at a cost of US$1,2 million
Government has set up a special Cabinet committee on emergency responses to drought/flood induced disasters. It will oversee the production and implementation of the drought and early recovery plan.
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