Water levels in Lake Mutirikwi have reached critical levels owing to uncontrolled spillage from the dam wall. The lake, which is below 15 percent capacity, supplies water for irrigation to sugarcane farmers in the lowveld. Masvingo City also draws its water from the lake. Water levels in the dam have drastically gone down this year after reduced inflows attributed to poor rains in the dam's catchment area last year.
Masvingo South legislator Cde Walter Mzembi on Tuesday called for sustainable use of water from the lake.
He said an ecological disaster was imminent unless urgent measures were taken to arrest uncontrolled drawing of water for irrigation purposes.
"There is an ecological time bomb at Lake Mutirikwi that will explode anytime from now because the dam is now less than 15 percent full yet water continues to be drawn unsustainably to irrigate sugarcane plantations in the lowveld."
He said the continued drawing of water from the lake would destroy the habitat of various aquatic species.
Minister Mzembi said he would approach his Water Resources and Management counterpart Mr Samuel Sipepa Nkomo over the issue.
"I will push for the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee to tackle the issue of dwindling water levels in Lake Mutirikwi because the drying up of the dam will also impinge on tourism in a big way in Masvingo province," he said.
Minister Mzembi said there was a need to apply an empowerment model on Lake Mutirikwi to benefit local communities.
Chief Murinye from the area expressed concern at the low water levels.