Unesco pledges US$5m for Zim water projects

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BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI
THE United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation ( Unesco) has pledged US$5 million to  help Zimbabwe implement its groundwater sustainable utilisation projects.

Unesco representative Martiale Zebaze Kana made the pledge yesterday during commemorations of World Water Day in Harare.

Kana said the US$5 million project entitled Strengthening local communities’ Adaptive capacity and Resilience to Climate Change through Sustainable Groundwater Utilisation in Zimbabwe had been approved by the Adaptation Fund.

This year’s World Water Day commemorations ran under the theme Groundwater, making the invincible visible.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development deputy minister Douglas Karoro said government would drill 35 000 boreholes in eight provinces to ensure that citizens have adequate water.

“Leveraging on our abundant ground water resources, we have embarked on a very ambitious but highly-achievable journey to drill 35 000 boreholes in the country’s eight rural provinces by the year 2025,” Karoro said.

It is estimated that groundwater provides 50% of water needs for 62% of the population in southern Africa.  In Zimbabwe, groundwater is the primary source of drinking water.

Karoro stated that human activities and climate change continued to threaten efforts to optimally harness water resources for socio-economic development.

“Unregulated drilling of boreholes in major towns and cities, especially in Harare also threatens our groundwater resources, and going forward we shall be relooking into our existing groundwater policies and framework with a view to regulate borehole drilling activities including borehole drilling companies,” he said.

In a statement, World Vision said while it requires expert knowledge, skills and equipment to locate groundwater sources, its reliability is less sensitive to climate variability than surface water and is not easily polluted compared to surface water.

“Other available surface water sources and shallow wells are prone to contamination, posing risk to the health of rural communities.”

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