Access to water, sanitation and hygiene continue to be an uphill task for many Zimbabweans as the cumulative number of boreholes rehabilitated since the outbreak of Covid-19 stands at 3 355 against a target of 9 800.
The numbers of non-functional boreholes continues to increase due to new breakdowns and drying up water sources, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Douglas Karoro told Senate on Thursday.
He said more resources are required to ensure all non-functional boreholes in the country are repaired.
“The reported numbers of water points drying up are increasing leading to the demand in new boreholes,” Karoro said.
“The increased demand of boreholes calls for the need to strengthen Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) through the allocation of requisite financial resources including acquisition of advanced rigs with capabilities for both air and mud drilling as the water table had greatly receded.”
“Treasury has disbursed Z$20 million to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education for the drilling of 80 boreholes in the most urgent needed schools in order to assist with their reopening,” he added.
Due to vast inequalities in the accessibility, availability and quality of water services, many are turning to untreated surface water.
The Ministry said ZINWA and DDF are leading the drilling efforts by the Government with ZINWA covering three provinces and DDF covering the rest.
“Deployment has been made this week and the intention is to complete by end of November, 2020. Other interventions for Covid-19; so for 40 piped water schemes were rehabilitated by Government during the COVID-19 period across the eight rural provinces,” Karoro said.
He further said Zimbabwe has “entered the most precarious phase water wise, being the driest phase of the year and following two years of successive droughts.”
“While we continue the hard work to improve the water supply, we look forward to a predictable better rain season, we must continue to use available water sparingly and corroboratively, we will win,” Karoro said.
Zimbabwe has experienced two consecutive years of drought due to climate change which has hampered water availability for both urban and rural communities.
Predictions of a better 2020/21 rainfall season have been given by the Meteorological Services Department which should see a substantial improvement in the current water supply situation.
However, even under these circumstances, precautionary measures are continuously required.
“Cooperation and collaboration between ZINWA and Local Authorities is an imperative in addressing the current water challenges faced in the rural and urban communities, now and into the future,” Karoro concluded.