BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
GOVERNMENT says it is planning to drill 44 600 boreholes countrywide to ease water shortages and ramp up irrigation programmes.
Agriculture, Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement minister Anxious Masuka revealed this in Parliament on Tuesday.
“We will target three boreholes per ward and where there is sufficient yield, piped water schemes powered through solar energy will be developed to serve villages and institutions,” Masuka said.
“We have dubbed this programme the Presidential rural horticulture scheme which is part of the broader horticultural recovery and growth plan. This programme will address the twin challenges of water security and food/nutrition security for the rural populace as we move towards an upper middle-income economy by 2030,” he said.
“Treasury has availed $760 million through DDF (District Development Fund) and Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) and another $350 million through the Primary and Secondary Education ministry for borehole drilling, altogether $1,11 billion.
“This will be sufficient to fund the drilling of around 1 800 boreholes countrywide.
“Zinwa and DDF have a combined rig capacity of 12, with an additional 20 rigs currently being procured. Additional capacity will be outsourced from the private sector where some 120 rigs are available.”
Masuka said Provincial Affairs and Devolution ministers would co-ordinate the borehole site identification efforts together with community leaders.
“This is strictly a rural scheme, so urban areas are excluded.
“However, we have previously done specific interventions for urban areas; we commissioned the Epping Forest 20 boreholes for augmentation of Bulawayo water supply to an extent that to date Bulawayo is receiving 127 megalitres per day against its total daily demand of 155,” he said.
Masuka said boreholes would be drilled in 35 000 villages and 9 600 schools.
“We are rehabilitating and repairing as many boreholes as resources permit and this is part of that broader programme,” said Masuka.
He said boreholes were the best way to go to ensure that sanitation and nutrition of the rural population was improved.
“In fact, we have just started this project. So with the 20 additional rigs in place and now having identified private sector capacity, as soon as we are sufficiently resourced by Treasury, we will be able to go all out and you will be able to see the activity in your constituency.”