Godknows Matarutse 

SENIOR STAFF WRITER

matarutseg@dailynews.co.zw 

THE government has set aside $10 billion to construct dams and rehabilitating water treatment plants to end Zimbabwe’s perennial water challenges, Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka has said.   

This comes as the provision of clean water in most towns has remained a pipe dream for many, especially in the wake of recent droughts that left several dams across the country dry.

Matters were made worse as most towns across the country are owed millions of dollars by ratepayers while at the same time alleged misappropriation of funds by officials has left service delivery lacking.

However, speaking during World Water Day commemorations on Monday, Masuka said the government now wants to take full advantage of the above normal rainfall received during this season to build more dams across the country.

“World Water Day is being celebrated at a time when the government of Zimbabwe is seized with implementing far reaching programmes and projects to boost access to water and providing affordable water security for development,” Masuka said.

“Government has taken important practical steps to address water challenges in urban centres such as the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, which was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on February 25, 2021.

“Government has also commenced processes for the construction of the long awaited Kunzvi Dam, which is expected to substantially solve the water problems in Harare. With the commissioning of the Causeway Dam, Marondera town will have sufficient water, while relieving Rufaro Dam to supply Ruwa, Mabvuku and Tafara ahead of the Kunzvi Dam commissioning.

“The government has committed $10 billion for the construction of dams in the country while $700 million has been set aside for the rehabilitation of water treatment plants at 14 centres across the country. Additionally, over 20 irrigation schemes will be rehabilitated.”

The minister said the government was also concerned about pollution and siltation which were affecting most water bodies.

“My ministry is now reviewing the provisions of both the Water Act and the Zinwa Act, with a view to making them more responsive to the emerging social and economic challenges in the water sector,” he said.

“While government is making these strides, we remain highly concerned with the pollution of our water bodies and the threat of siltation coming from a spike in alluvial mining along rivers channels, the discharge of untreated or inadequately treated sewer and industrial effluent into water bodies and poor agricultural practices, among other issues.

“Siltation and pollution in particular pose a real credible threat to our water bodies. Going forward, we will strengthen our management structures and statutes to depend, to a large extent, on harnessing our water resources for development.

“Water is located at the very centre of our quest to create a healthy nation, to achieve food security, to become energy sufficient, to an investment destination of choice to be an enviable tourist destination and to mitigate the impact of climate change among other important uses.

“Without water there is, therefore, no life and there cannot be any socio-economic development.”