By James Marufu
Masvingo, August 10, 2013 – Sugar and its by-products may soon
be in short supply amid reports that the water level in Lake Kyle,
the largest inland dam is shockingly low. The development has
forced Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to drastically
cut water supply to the country’s giant sugar producing companies
Hippo Valley and Triangle in Lowveld.
The Masvingo community has also been alarmed by the development as
there are fears that there will be serious water rationing since the
water level has dropped to 16.51%.
Zinwa area manager Mr Johannes Juma confirmed the development
and said agriculture production in the Lowveld, particularly at Hippo Valley
and Triangle where sugar and ethanol are being produced has seriously
“Disaster is looming; I can confirm that the water level in Mutirikwi
has dropped to 16.51%. Generally, I can say the whole Runde catchment
area; that is, Manjirenji, Bangala, Nyajena, Mushandike, Ngezi,
Manyuchi, Muzhwi, Tokwane and Mutirikwi dams significantly received
low rainfall last year.
“We are therefore reserving water in Mutirikwi dam for domestic
consumption. We have since stopped supplying the Lowveld sugar cane
farms and that will affect the agricultural production as many farmers
will be forced to reduce their hectarage,” said Juma.
There are also high fears that the ethanol production which depends on
sugar by-products will be affected by the situation.
Despite the potential setback, the Chairperson of the Agricultural Rural
Development Authority (ARDA) Basil Nyabadza was upbeat and quoted
soon after the 31 July elections results were announced as saying,
“The future is bright for the Chisumbanje plant. We are now operating, having successfully
opened and we are even in the process of taking onboard additional staff”.
ARDA partnered with Rating owned by businessman Bill Rautenbach and Macdom
Investments to form Green Fuels which owns the Chisumbanje ethanol plant.
The outgoing Masvingo mayor Fermius Chakabuda however, urged residents
not to panic and said the council will soon introduce a rationing time
“People should not panic ….the council is going to make sure that it
rations the water in Mutirikwi dam until we get to the next rain
season,” said Chakabuda.
Tranos Gondoza a businessman in Rujeko which is Masvingo’s high
residential suburb said low water levels in Mutirikwi was a major
cause for concern.
“Everyone is very worried since our livelihood is centred on water. We
cannot talk of any development or business if there is no water. I
would want to urge local authorities to practice water harvesting in
the next rain season,” said Gondoza.
A farmer from Triangle Mr Admire Kuzonyei said the development is
heavy blow to their production. He said the problem will start as
centred in Masvingo but soon the whole nation will be affected.
“This is a national disaster… you will see that sugar production is
going to be affected and obviously the ethanol production which relies
on the by-products from sugar cane will be obviously affected,” said
Mutirikwi’s capacity dropped by 9.01% from last August’s 25.52% to
16.51% due to poor rains, Bangala in Zaka had a sharp drop of 19.36%
from 25.35% last year to 5.99 this year.
Ngezi which supplies Mashava and Mimosa mines dropped to 67.77% while
Mushandike which supplies Chivi district dropped to 1.75%.