By Dumisani Nyoni
Bulawayo, September 22, 2016 – ENVIRONMENT, Water and Climate minister, Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri has urged industry, mining, agriculture and domestic users to find innovative ways to conserve water at a time the nation’s water security was under serious threat due to climate change.
In a speech read on her behalf at the water, sanitation and energy (WASHen) conference in Bulawayo on Thursday, Muchinguri said the nation’s water security for domestic, industry, power supply and agriculture remained under serious threat due to climate change.
She said Bulawayo in particular was one of the major cities that have been greatly affected by the EI Nino phenomenon.
“Despite the commissioning by government of the Mtshabezi pipeline that augments supplies into the city, the water situation remains critical,” Muchinguri said.
“I therefore want to urge industries, mining, agriculture and domestic users to find innovative ways and means of stretching the life of the precious liquid, water in order to…get positive outcomes.”
Bulawayo has been, since time immemorial, grappling with the effects of water shortages with government failing to intervene.
The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project which was mooted in 1912 as a possible solution to the perennial water problems affecting the region has remained a pipe dream up to date with political bickering taking centre stage.
Muchinguri said as government, they have set up a drought response team to lead the development and implementation of mitigation measures aimed at ensuring water security until the next rainfall season.
“Let us think outside the box and start re-use and recycling of water, drip irrigation technologies in agriculture, mulching to hold on to the moisture, showers rather than bath tubs and so on,” she said.
Muchinguri-Kashiri said the nation’s water resources were being threatened by human activities such as deforestation especially in tobacco farming areas, veld fires, gold panning and stream bank cultivation.
“These activities result in siltation of our rivers and dams,” she said.
She said the gains made since independence in ensuring water security to engender socio-economic development and mitigate the impact of climate change were now threatened by the unsustainable manner in which people are utilising natural resources.
“Hence the need for our citizens to be more responsible in our land use practices as well as in exploiting the nation’s water resources for posterity and intergenerational equity,” she said.