The Herald (Harare)

30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Masvingo Appeals On Water

Photo: Capital FM
Taps remain dry in Harare.

Masvingo city council has appealed to Government to intervene over the continued drawing of water from Lake Mutirikwi to irrigate sugar cane plantations in the Lowveld, amid fears that Zimbabwe's largest inland reservoir is on the verge of drying up.

Water levels in Lake Mutirikwi, which is Masvingo city's sole water supplier, have now dropped to less than 15 percent. Masvingo mayor Alderman Chakabuda said in an interview yesterday that they feared for the lake's future. He said the city had since written a letter of appeal to Local Government, Rural and Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo asking Government to intervene.

"The water situation from the point of view of a naked eye has reached alarming levels," said Alderman Chakabuda.

"The water levels in the dam have dropped by about 7 percent in the current month alone mainly due to drawing of water to irrigate sugar cane plantations in the Lowveld, while some of the water is being lost through evaporation. We have written a letter of appeal to Minister Chombo for government to intervene because the situation in the dam is now critical."

Alderman Chakabuda said they had also written a letter to Four Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Chancellor Diye informing the army about the dwindling water levels in Masvingo.

"The army is also our biggest user of water and we feel they might help us in our appeal for action to be taken by authorities to save the dam's water,'" he said.

Alderman Chakabuda said that pumping of water from Lake Mutirikwi was now expensive for his council due to low water levels now obtaining at the intake tower in the dam.

Water levels in Lake Mutirikwi have been dropping alarmingly over the past few months, raising fears of an ecological disaster.

Lake Mutirikwi, which is Zimbabwe's largest inland dam with a capacity of 1,4 billion cubic metres of water when full, is the sole water source for Masvingo city and also home to diverse aquatic species such as fish, hippos and crocodiles.

The only time that water levels in Lake Mutirikwi dropped to critical levels was during the crippling 1992 drought which affected the whole country.

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