THE Zimbabwe National water authority (ZINWA) has said the country’s 152 catchment areas are depleting and called for urgent action from both government and stakeholders to avert the impending water crisis the country now faces.
The drying up of the country’s water sources have been caused by the Eli Nino induced drought Zimbabwe is experiencing.
The poor weather conditions, including erratic rainfall and long dry spells, have contributed to large-scale crop failure and livestock deaths across the country also leaving over 4 million Zimbabweans in dire need of food aid.
El Nino, a weather pattern which recurs every two to seven years, has caused severe drought bringing hardship to 50 million people in Southern Africa. Rainfall in southern Africa from October to December 2015 was at lowest level for those three months in 30 years.
The devastating El Nino, combined with effects of climate change, has disrupted rain patterns and reduced by almost half the country’s rain season which normally starts in October and ends in April.
Addressing UN agencies, diplomats and government officials in Harare last week, ZINWA’s Engineer Taurai Maurukira, said the country’s water situation needed urgent attention from stakeholders.
The drought has also impacted negatively on water supplies. Water availability for domestic use is inadequate,” he said.
“Nationally, 81% of households reported unavailability of water for agricultural purposes (irrigation schemes and gardens). Masvingo province reported the highest levels (90%) of inadequate water for agriculture.”
Water has become scarcer with households being forced to rely on unprotected sources, and health risks related to water borne diseases are on the increase.
A recent typhoid outbreak in Harare resulted in 291cases.
In the same period, a total of 402 suspected and 38 confirmed cases and 1 death have been reported across the country.