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Water levels in Zimbabwe dams decline

by Staff reporter
28 Feb 2024 at 06:24hrs | Views
WATER levels in major dams have started declining as demand for irrigation water has been picking up with a significant number of farmers resorting to irrigation to sustain their summer crop.

In a statement, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) head corporate communications and marketing, Mrs Marjorie Munyonga, said the decline was due to the current dry spell in the country.

Mrs Munyonga said they were observing and closely following the current weather patterns in the country, which were characterised by a prolonged dry spell and deteriorating water security situation for both domestic and agricultural purposes.

She said as at February 22, 2024, at least 35 percent more water had been released from the dams for irrigation than in a normal rainy season while the national dam level average had declined. "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," she said.

"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. The 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 percent with the proportion of centres whose water supply dams have water enough to last between 12 months and 20. 9 months currently at 38.3 percent.

"A proportion of 10. 9 percent of cities, towns, growth points and rural service centres are 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."

Mrs Munyonga said areas in that category included Chegutu, Mt Darwin, Figtree, Gwanda, Bulawayo and Mutoko.

She said the 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.

"Under these circumstances the need for sustainable, efficient and sound management of the limited available water cannot be overemphasised," Mrs Munyonga said.

"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.

"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 ZINWA will intensify its monitoring capabilities to detect any illegal water use."

Source - The Herald
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