HomeAnalysisZinwa ropes in partners....Unpacking the water agreement

Zinwa ropes in partners….Unpacking the water agreement

TANYARADZWA NHARI
THE Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), a government entity responsible for managing the country’s water resources, has roped in other organisations in projects that are expected to benefit the nation’s water system.

The authority, in an attempt to improve Zimbabweans’ access to water and climate proofing, has embarked on life changing projects to improve the country’s water system.

The projects include the recently commissioned Gwayi-Shangani pipeline in partnership with a South African company, Flowtite, which supplied glass fibre reinforced pipes (GRP pipes) worth US$50 million as part of efforts to end Bulawayo’s perennial water woes.

Speaking during the signing ceremony of the partnership recently, Zinwa chief executive Taurai Maurukira said the contract marked a link towards the delivery of the National Matabeleland-Zambezi Water Project.

The project comprises three components: the construction of the US$535 million Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which is currently underway and the construction of the 252-km-long pipeline to draw water from the dam to Bulawayo.

The project also includes the construction of yet another pipeline from the Zambezi River to Gwayi-Shangani Dam.

“The contract will see Flowtite South Africa supplying the pipes to cover the entire pipeline of 252km. The 52% under this contract is in the US$50 million and then the second 50% is going to be manufactured under a partnership wherein localisation of the manufacture of those pipes will come into effect,” Maurukira said.

In addition to construction, Zinwa also monitors several major dams for the purpose of supplying reliable water for the people in Zimbabwe.

The dams include the Mazowe, Mzingwane, Runde, Sanyati, Save and Manyame.

Zinwa, under the Presidential Rural Development Programme, has also pledged to drill solar powered boreholes in each of the country’s 35 000 villages.

It is targeting to drill boreholes benefitting 1,8 million households by 2025 while creating jobs for villagers.

The solar-powered boreholes will benefit local communities while establishing horticulture gardens, drip irrigation, growing high-value crops, fisheries, and piped water schemes together with washing slabs and cattle troughs.

According to the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development Anxious Masuka at least 500 boreholes would have been drilled across the country by the end 2022.

“No surface water permit shall be required of a person who wishes to abstract surface water from a water storage works of share of a water storage works vested in the State or the National Water Authority for any purposes mentioned in paragraph (a), but such person must enter into an abstraction agreement with the National Water Authority in terms of subsection (6) of Section 39 of the Act”.

How does one get it?
Any person wishing to use water from Zinwa managed or state owned dams should approach the respective Zinwa catchment office from which they would want to abstract water and lodge an application for water stating the intended use of the water, their physical address, the amount of water required, point of abstraction and the crop intended for irrigation in the case of farmers.

If Zinwa, after considering the application, is satisfied that there is sufficient water in their dams to meet the applicant’s requirements, the two parties will then enter into a water abstraction agreement.

How does it work?
Once a water abstraction agreement is entered into, Zinwa will reserve the full allocation as requested by the user in its dams and releases the water as per the water user’s water orders from time to time until the full allocation gets exhausted.

The agreement holder becomes exclusively entitled to the allocation specified in the agreement, which they are assured to get and the water cannot be released to any other user.

The user is also expected to install, at his own cost, a meter or any other acceptable measuring device to measure his consumption and adherence to his allocation.

Farmers wishing to abstract water from Zinwa managed dams are encouraged to work closely with their extension officers or other people with appropriate expertise to help them fully appreciate the water requirements for different crops. This helps them in coming up with proper requirements when applying for water.

How is agreement water billed?
Agreement holders are expected to pay for their water allocation in monthly instalments during the subsistence of the agreement.

However, in the case of farmers and other users who get their money at the end of a particular season or process, Stop Order arrangements can be made so that bills are settled during that period.

Water users may also choose to pay the full sum of their allocation at the onset of the agreement, especially where smaller volumes are concerned.

Why should water users pay?
The money paid by water users is used for the operation and maintenance of dams and related water infrastructure that enable users to have access to the water resources given that the country has distinct wet and dry seasons and as such most of the dry season river flows are as a result of dam releases.

Without an agreement
A person who uses water without the necessary documentation commits an offence in terms of Section 118 of the Water Act and is liable to a fine, imprisonment or both. The same applies to anyone who uses more water than he is entitled to. — Zinwa.

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