The country’s national dams have started to positively respond to rainfall received in the country over the past 30 days, according to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).
In an update through its Twitter handle, ZINWA, whose mandate is to sustainably deliver quality water to all rural and urban communities and to make strategic water investments into infrastructure that make possible economic development, said the recent rains
have helped water improve levels across the country.
According to ZINWA, dam levels have started to positively reflect the rains that have fallen in the country in the last month and as of 10 February 2020 the national dam level average had risen to 49,6 percent, an improvement from dam figures as at January 3, 2020 of 48,8 percent.
Previously, ZINWA had reported on January 3, 2020 that water levels in the Zimbabwe’s major dams had begun to recede due to the high temperatures, continued drawdowns for domestic and irrigation purposes as well as reduction in river flow.
Gwayi catchment’s dam level average was 42,9 percent up from the January figure of 38,4 percent, Mazowe Catchment was up from 75,1 to 77, 3 percent, Mzingwane Catchment from 45,7 percent to 46,1 percent, Runde Catchment from 38,9 percent to 40,8 percent, Manyame Catchment was down slightly from 73,6 to 73, 4 percent and Save Catchment down from 55,1 percent to 54,7 percent.
As of February 10 Chivero is 57,2 percent full, Manyame 74,8 percent, Mazvikadei 77 percent, Blockley 39 percent, Karoi 24,6 percent, Bubi-Lupane 39,9 percent, Pollards 87,7 percent, Exchange 48,4 percent, Insukamini 53,8 percent, Lower Mgusa 64,3 percent, Mtshabezi 56,6 percent, Zhovhe 60,5 percent, Upper Ncema 2,4 percent, Lower Ncema 10,1 percent.
Tugwi-Mukosi is 38,5 percent full, Manjirenji 57,1 percent, Bangala 40,7 percent, Gwenoro 18,7 percent, Mutirikwi 37,6 percent.
This shows steady gain in Zimbabwe’s water stores that are essential for the irrigation of crops essential to the economy.
However, ZINWA has expressed concern that despite the small gains, the national dam level is meant to be at 64 percent at this time of year.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, FAO under the heading “Zimbabwe at a glance”: “Agricultural activities provide employment and income for 60-70 percent of the population, supplies 60 percent of the raw materials required by the industrial sector and contributes 40 percent of total export earnings. Agriculture contributes approximately 17 percent to Zimbabwe’s GDP.”
Which means that depressed dam levels could mean an inability to properly irrigate crops which can cause widespread crop failure (for crops like maize which is essential for the production of mealie meal) and threaten the food security in Zimbabwe.
Low rainfall in the 2018-2019 cropping season, led to increased food insecurity and water shortages that had far reaching consequences as farmers had to delay planting.
Agriculture contributes a significant portion of Zimbabwe’s GDP and is a major contributor to foreign currency earnings therefore improving agriculture through irrigation is key to improving the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.