Water harvesting infrastructure pivotal in drought mitigation

Source: Water harvesting infrastructure pivotal in drought mitigation | Herald (Business)

Since last year, the ministry of Environment, Water and Climate has been implementing the Command Water Harvesting Programme through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).

The water harvesting programme was aimed at building the capacity of communities, mainly rural, to harvest water during the rainy season for use during times of water stress.

This programme would see the construction of weirs, drilling of boreholes and installation of rooftop and rock top water harvesting infrastructure.

The ministry provided cement for the projects while communities would chip in with labour and other locally available materials that include sand and rocks.

Zinwa would come in with technical assistance in the designs and supervision of the construction of these communal water bodies.

As part of this programme, Zinwa worked with community leaders such as councillors, district administrators, provincial administrators and traditional leaders in the identification possible sites for the construction of weirs and drilling of boreholes.

To date 48 weirs have been completed while a further 158 set to be completed before the end of year.

These weirs will hold water during the period the country will be receiving rains and having river flows. The water will then be utilised by communities during the dry period.

With the recent prediction that the country is set to receive between normal and below normal rains in the forthcoming wet season, the water harvesting infrastructure is set to be a game changer.

The boreholes are set to provide potable water for beneficiary communities. The weirs will go a very long way in providing water for a multiplicity of purposes.

These weirs will now fill the gap, providing water for the irrigation of smallholder gardens, irrigation schemes as well as providing supplementary water to rain fed crops.

The weirs will also provide water for dip tanks, livestock and even wildlife.

The weirs and other infrastructure constructed under the programme will therefore come in very handy in mitigating the impact of any droughts that the country may face in future. They have become a critical tool and instrument in creating a water and food secure society.

It is now up to the beneficiary communities to start putting in place the necessary infrastructure and other requirements that enable them to reap the benefits of the water harvesting programme.

Communities also need to ensure that they take all the necessary measures to protect these water bodies from pollution and siltation.

Exposing them to pollution and siltation will negate the whole idea behind this very important programme.

Communities should therefore desist from practices such as overgrazing, deforestation, stream bank cultivation and gold panning, which are contributing to the siltation of many water bodies around the country.

Even in their use of water, communities should strive to conserve the resource through using water efficient irrigation systems.

That way, everyone will see the fruits of water harvesting.

For more information contact the Zinwa Corporate Communications and Marketing Department on callcentre@zinwa.co.zw. You can also like the Zimbabwe National Water Authority Facebook Page or follow us on Twitter @zinwawater