HomeNewsGlimmer of hope as Rushinga dam desilted

Glimmer of hope as Rushinga dam desilted

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BY SIMBARASHE SITHOLE

OVER 1 000 households are set to benefit from the desilting of Kurekure Dam in Rushinga district through revival of agricultural activities that had been stalled by perennial water shortages.

Villagers of Nyamanyanya under Chief Makuni in Rushinga have been facing serious water challenges for years as water sources dry out immediately after the rainy season due to siltation of the area’s main water bodies.

Women bear the burden of walking long distances to fetch water for domestic use, while villagers say they have lost livestock to wild animals as they search for water.

Juliet Makuni, leading a group of women who run a solar-irrigated nutritional garden serving orphaned children and the community at large, said the water shortages had stalled several agricultural projects.

“Our garden requires water as well as serving the community. We have a borehole, but we can only get a few buckets before it dries up,” she said.

“Since morning we have been sitting by the borehole, but haven’t gotten even a drop of water,” said another woman who refused to be named.

“I came at 7am and now it’s 12 noon. There is no water for our garden. At the same time, our livestock needs something to drink.”

The woman added: “We are having challenges with hyenas preying on our livestock when they go to the next drinking point, which is about 10km away.”

However, Kakata Mining Company has come to the rescue of the community after taking up the challenge to desilt Kurekure weir.

Kakata spokesperson Phillip Karonga said the initiative was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility programmes.

“We want the community we operate in to benefit from our presence, so we realised they have a lot of these projects that require water and seeing they have a silted dam we are trying to bring it back to life,” he said.

“They have livestock horticulture, fish projects which require adequate water.”

Rushinga ward 19 councillor Howard Machipisa said desilting the dam would revive and upscale community projects.

“Our nutritional garden has about 85 beneficiaries. We use a solar-powered plant and the dam will become a water source. We also have brick-moulding initiatives which had stalled. Now we can get water from this dam for some of these projects,” he said.

Chief Makuni weighed in, saying: “It’s a life line because we usually approach June without water, hence this is a major development. Our wish is that the project is taken to other dams so that we can have more water bodies.”

In 2018, the district lost hundreds of cattle due to water challenges before government intervened through a borehole drilling programme.

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