CHIEF Shepherd Gundu (Senator) has warned of acute water shortages if siltation in all rivers and dams was not urgently addressed.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
The chief said this in Senate recently while moving a motion on siltation of rivers and dams where he said the problem needed to be addressed as soon as possible because dams and rivers were now full of silt.
“Twenty years ago, we used to have all the rivers and dams full of water and we would catch fish at the door step, but rich as we are in agriculture and nature, we have neglected our natural resources and in the process we are not taking care of our rivers and dams,” Chief Gundu said.
“Our water bodies are so under-utilised to an extent that some of our dams to mention a few, have reduced their limited holding capacity which ranges from 40 to 60% due to siltation, while others are completely full of mud and no water at all,” he said.
Gundu said if command agriculture was to succeed then there was need to harness water bodies for use in the agricultural sector.
“Unless we do that, we risk the loss of potential maximum yields as a result of insufficient water even by means of irrigation. The current situation has become very sad indeed. Our livestocks are dying due to lack of water and are affected by diseases relating to lack of water like red water disease to mention a few.”
Gundu said siltation of rivers has led to wild animals migrating from their territorial zones to other areas as rivers dry up.
“I call upon [Zimbabwe National Water Authority] Zinwa, the Ministry of Environment and Agritex to pull their sleeves and address these issues or they are subject to be labelled dysfunctional units within our government for failing to take the necessary actions within their mandates to address this problem.”
Chief Langton Chikukwa (Senator) blasted the Mines ministry for allowing Chinese miners to destroy the environment.
“Government and every citizen at every level must take measures to stop river bank cultivation and mineral exploitation in our rivers. As traditional leaders, we are the custodians of our land and are concerned that the Ministry of Mines in some cases allows some people, for example our friends, the Chinese, to do their mining of gold in rivers.”
He said Mazowe River was now filled with sand and mud, and dangerous chemicals were being discharged into the rivers which were hazardous to humans, birds and animals exposing them to cancer.
“The Zimbabwe National Water Authority and rural councils must lead in extracting river sand with the help of our communities from our rivers and dams. This sand can be sold to deserving people and can be used in the construction of weirs in those rivers so that we catch all the water from running down stream and can be used in irrigation activities, fishery projects and as drinking water for our animals,” Chief Chikukwa said.