THE United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) is planning a four-year project aimed at improving access to clean and safe water and propping food security in two poverty-stricken districts.
The project titled Strengthening Local Communities’ Adaptive Capacity and Resilience to Climate Change through Sustainable Groundwater Utilisation in Zimbabwe will be implemented in Binga’s wards 13 and 19 in Matabeleland North and Buhera’s wards 20 and 23, Manicaland province.
Unesco is working in partnership with the government through the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement ministry from 2023 to 2027.
It has a budget allocation of US$5 million.
Project co-ordinator Muchaneta Munamati told stakeholders in Kadoma last week that the initiative is aimed at increasing local communities’ adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change through sustainable groundwater operation for food security and other productive uses in Zimbabwe rural areas.
“To achieve this, the project will implement actions starting at national to local levels including strengthening technical, institutional and human capacity for improved and sustainable utilisation of groundwater at national and local levels; conducting comprehensive assessments of groundwater resources in two poverty-stricken and highly vulnerable sub-catchments of Lower Gwayi and Upper Save,” Munamati said.
She said there was also a need to develop sample plans for improving climate resilience through sustainable groundwater utilisation.
“There are management plans that promote groundwater use while protecting (groundwater) resources,” she said.
Zimbabwe has of late faced erratic rainfall patterns and poor water management practices that have a direct negative impact on water availability.
Munamati noted that the biggest burden of water insecurity falls on women and girls shoulders.
‘‘Due to limited adaptation options, an increase in unsustainable activities along key value chains is observed that leads to land degradation and deterioration of key water sources.
“Poor land husbandry practices have degraded crucial water resource systems such as wetlands and natural sand and dams, which are incrementally reducing their ability to provide ecosystem services,” Munamati said.
She said strategies were required to improve and protect livelihoods in periods with little or no rainfall.
“There is need for knowledge generation and capacity development, raising awareness through piloting and implementation of a sound projects that will benefit affected communities,” she said.
According to Unicef, at least more than a billion people live in countries where water supply is inadequate.
Climate change is also affecting weather patterns globally thereby causing droughts and floods in some places.