15 February 2019

Zimbabwe: Water Woes Hit Rural Beitbridge

Photo: The Herald
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Serious water shortages have hit the greater part of Beitbridge district after most water sources and boreholes ran dry.

The Herald understands that there were 1 350 registered boreholes in the district and 32 small dams, most of which were being affected by siltation.

In an interview on Wednesday, senator for the area, Cde Tambudzani Mohadi, said the water table was receding and livestock and people in most remote areas of the district were the hardest hit.

She said in cases where farmers had planted maize, the crops were either a write off or had started wilting.

"We are in agriculture natural region five which receives below average rains," she said. "You will note that most farmers rely on water bodies for irrigation, while other villagers rely on boreholes for water.

"The situation on the ground is very critical. Most boreholes and water bodies are drying up. We need urgent help in drilling more boreholes to assist communities. In some cases we need to repair the existing water infrastructure."

Cde Mohadi said livestock and people were walking long distances to access water.

She said they had managed to drill some boreholes using Community Development Fund (CDF) and with the help of other stakeholders, but these were not enough. Cde Mohadi said the water shortages had also hit irrigation schemes and small scale farms where crops failed to germinate.

"The water situation has also affected the pastures," she said. "We are a livestock producing district and if we don't receive rains anytime soon, our animals will succumb to the effects of drought."

Beitbridge district is a drought prone area where animal husbandry and irrigation farming are the main source of livelihoods for communal farmers.

It is estimated that there are 200 000 cattle, 145 000 goats, 60 000 sheep, 37 000 donkeys and 2 000 pigs in the area.

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