HARARE – Government has set out to drill at least 840 boreholes at a cost of $4,5 million across the country within the next three months.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday, Environment, Water and Climate minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said the programme was aimed at improving sanitation and access to better water for Zimbabwean communities in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) stipulations.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) is spearheading the programme.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said the money had already been released by the treasury and the programme is already underway in some districts such as Binga, Chivi and Buhera.
She said four boreholes will be drilled in each of Zimbabwe’s legislative constituencies, with Members of Parliament being asked to submit four top priority areas in their respective constituencies to the ministry for immediate action.
“The programme has started in earnest and is being implemented in the broad context of the ministry’s 100-day quick-wins programme as guided by the President Comrade Emmerson Mnangagwa during his maiden Cabinet speech last Tuesday,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
A community borehole
“Last week, Zinwa deployed drilling rigs for the programme to Beitbridge East constituency and another one is in Binga South constituency at Manyanda Primary School. Zinwa has deployed more rigs at the weekend, one to Chivi North and another to Midlands province in Zhombe constituency.
“This programme will continue until we cover the whole country. I want to implore MPs to urgently submit the four priority borehole sites that will be drilled during this programme to the ministry for onward submission to the drilling teams,” she said.
She said the ministry would make use of alternative community leaders in the case of constituencies that currently do not have sitting MPs.
“This programme is not for individual benefit of MPs. Some MPs might not be present but the communities are always there, so we will make use of other community leaders such as chiefs to locate areas of concern,” she said.
Muchinguri-Kashiri also said the government had undertaken to construct weirs around the country under the command water harvesting programme, an extension of government’s special agriculture programme, otherwise known as command agriculture.
“Weir construction is already underway with cement for construction works being distributed in constituencies such as Bindura North, Muzvezve, Buhera South, Mberengwa South and Hwange East. MPs are also encouraged to work closely with Zinwa district engineers.
“We are also implementing rooftop rain water harvesting programme in rural and urban areas. These programmes are meant to enhance water harvesting and make our communities adapt and mitigate against the adverse impacts of climate variability and climate change. Its success will, no doubt, enhance food security through community gardens, stock watering and nutrition,” Muchinguri-Kashiri added.
These new boreholes will be central to increased safe water supply coverage in Zimbabwe, so an effective drilling sector is intimately linked to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 for clean and safe water supply, especially SDG six which mandates governments to significantly invest in water and sanitation.
Abundance of untreated surface water, and a limited understanding of the links between contaminated water and disease, provides few incentives to invest in boreholes.
In its 2017 report to mark the World Water Day – commemorated annually on March 22 – UN Water noted that most African countries were still lagging behind in terms of access to safe drinking water.
Zimbabwe has, for example, suffered embarrassing outbreaks of water borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera.
Approximately, 50 000 cases of diarrhoea cases were recorded last year in Zimbabwe, with 30 deaths.