The Herald (Harare)

1 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Low Rainfall to Affect Lowveld Irrigation

Masvingo Bureau — Masvingo province is faced with severe water shortages for irrigation as most of the major dams are now below 10 percent full. The rains have been erratic this season. There are fears that irrigation water supplies to the Lowveld sugar cane plantations might be stopped. Several small community irrigation schemes in Masvingo face collapse if the major dams fail to provide irrigation water.

The major dams supply Masvingo city and other towns with domestic and industrial water.

Zinwa spokesperson Mr Tsungirirai Shoriwa yesterday confirmed the water level in major dams in Masvingo was critical.

He said Lake Mutirikwi was above 10 percent at 13,9 percent full. Bangala Dam in Masvingo South was at 6,6 percent full while Bindamombe Dam in Chivi was 9,7 percent full.

Manjirenji Dam in Zaka was at 7,1 percent, Siya Dam in Bikita was 2,7 while Muzhwi Dam in Mashava was 0,5 percent full.

"The level of water in major dams in Masvingo is now very critical and these dams are also the source of irrigation water especially to the Lowveld sugar estates and surrounding irrigation schemes.

"However, we have not yet decommissioned any of the dams to stop providing irrigation water, but we might be forced to stop providing irrigation water in the coming few days if the water inflows into the dams doesnot improve," he said.

Mr Shoriwa said they were working with sugar cane farmers in the Lowveld to find ways of conserving the water. Most of the major dams in Masvingo were built to provide irrigation water to the over 35 000 hectares Lowveld sugar cane plantations.

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