George Maponga in Masvingo
The future of Zimbabwe’s second largest in land water body, Lake Mutirikwi, is increasingly uncertain on the back of rampant siltation which is also slowly snuffing life out of the reservoir’s main tributaries.
Lake Mutirikwi is only second in size to Tugwi-Mukosi Dam among the country’s interior water bodies and the reservoir is the lifeblood of ther multi-million dollar sugar industry in the Lowveld.
The dam is also the sole water source for the fast expanding Masvingo City.
According to Masvingo North National Assembly representative Cde Davis Marapira, siltation is sounding a death knell for the lake.
Cde Marapira, who is also the Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet responsible for Special Agricultural Programmes says illegal land parceling in his constituency is behind the large-scale siltation of the lake.
He singled out the disappearance of big pools in Lake Mutirikwi’s main tributaries among them Pokoteke, Mutirikwi and Mazare as a sign of an uncertain future for the lake.
Lake Mutirikwi’s main catchment area is in Masvingo North and mushrooming of human settlements close to the dam’s main tributaries has been blamed for unprecedented siltation threatening Zimbabwe’s second largest inland dam.
Cde Marapira blamed corrupt traditional leaders working for the sprouting of illegal settlements in Lake Mutirikwi’s catchment area.
Lake Mutirikwi has been struggling to fill up over the past few years with siltation being cited as one of the reasons behind the situation at the 1,4 billion cubic meters capacity dam commissioned in 1960.