Elita Chikwati Senior Agric Reporter
Dam levels are starting to rise with about 80 percent of the total capacity now impounded and some smaller dams even spilling as persistent rains continue to fall, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), has said.
Most cities and towns rely on dammed water, and a large fraction of the stored water is set aside for irrigation, vital for the winter crops and important to boost yields of summer crops by allowing early planting and carrying fields through rainless spells.
The potential irrigation hectarage for the water held in the dams has risen from the 201 995ha calculated on December 30 to 211 177ha calculated on January 6.
Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said as at Thursday last week , the national dam level average had risen to 79,3 percent up from 77,3 percent a week earlier, well above the historical average of 63,7 percent at this time of the year.
“The proportion of dams recording positive changes is now 33,8 percent up from 19,7 percent on December 30.
“The water held in the dams is sufficient to support summer irrigation requirements as well as the domestic needs for the major cities and towns,” she said.
Mrs Munyonga said raw water supply for urban needs, increases were recorded in dams supplying Harare, Kwekwe, Marondera, Plumtree, Rusape and Beitbridge.
“Zhovhe, Valley, Moza and Siwaze Dams in Matabeleland South and Lower Zivagwe in the Midlands had started spilling by January 6, 2022. Mamina Dam in Mashonaland West was also spilling.
“Farmers involved in summer irrigation are advised to approach their service centres and sign water abstraction agreements as required by the law,” she said.
Meanwhile, the crop condition in most parts of the country is reported to be in good condition.
Farmers are continuing to plant ahead of the January 15 deadline.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union secretary general Mr Paul Zakariya yesterday said in Matabeleland North, the maize crop was at knee height and some farmers had started weeding and spraying.
“Maize hectarage increased due to the Pfumvudza/Intwasa scheme as more farmers have registered for the scheme. The crop looks good due to the current wet spell.
“With the delayed rains planting is still in progress with farmers encouraged to plant early maturing varieties. If the rains continue a good harvest can be realised,” he said.
In Matabeleland South, Mr Zakariya said the bulk of the maize crop was below knee height.
“No prolonged dry spells were experienced since the onset of the rains. Most farmers planted maize.
“Some few farmers who planted on the first rains have their maize crop above knee height. No significant damage by the fall armyworm has been witnessed,” he said.
He said few farmers in Matabeleland North had planted small grains despite receiving small grain seeds from the Government input scheme.
The crops are doing very well in many parts of the province.
In Masvingo, planting is still in progress.
Maize grown in the first and second week of December is at vegetative stage, mostly about 10 leaves.
Those around Chatsworth who have wet lands have their maize maturing. These farmers planted around September.
“Weeding is on-going and application of top dressing is underway. Top dressing fertiliser is now required in most fields but farmers are complaining of the high costs.
The early planted crop is looking good in Manicaland and farmers are concentrating on weed and pest management and application of top dressing fertiliser.
In Mashonaland West, the bulk of the rain-fed maize crop is now one week old. Germination occurred in the first week of January.
Planting is still under way in most areas after the significant falls in the present persistent period of rain.