By Matabeleland North Correspondent
VICTORIA FALLS: Water Minister Anxious Masuka says every school and village will have a borehole each by 2024, as the government embarks on a massive borehole drilling exercise countrywide.
This comes as about half of boreholes in Zimbabwe are dysfunctional while most parts of the country struggle with access to clean and safe water as some communities share water sources with animals.
Masuka made the commitment during a virtual address to the ongoing 22nd WaterNet Symposium for Integrated Water Resources Management for Sustainable Development in Eastern and Southern Africa.
The symposium is being hosted by the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) through its Department of Civil and Water Engineering.
The conference is being attended by local and international academics, researchers and students.
Masuka said the government also wants to capacitate irrigation projects to boost food security amid plans to expand irrigation from the current 216 000ha to over 420 000ha by 2024.
“My ministry also superintends over 530 water points through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), supplying 33 million cubic metres treated water and 1.3 billion cubic metres raw bulk water annually,” he said.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with some 10 700 dams having been built, but only a handful are being fully utilised.
“The government envisages drilling about 35 000 boreholes in each of the country’s 35 000 villages and 9 600 boreholes at each of the country’s 9600 schools by 2024.
“A further 3 600 boreholes, two each in each of our 18 000 wards for youth horticulture projects will be drilled,” he said.
Masuka said of the 44 950 boreholes in the country, only 25 000 are fully functional.
He said this presented an opportunity to deploy new technologies where the government has now adopted a new philosophy for the projects as it seeks to accelerate irrigation development.
The boreholes are being drilled by ZINWA, the District Development Fund (DDF) and non-governmental partners.
“I wish to point that, it is my expectation that you will fully exploit and cooperate in the area of developing and deploying technologies that improve water use efficiency,” Masuka said.
The hybrid symposium is being held under the theme “Integrated Water Resources Management for Sustainable Development in Eastern and Southern Africa.”
It seeks to fulfil aspirations of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially SDG 6 which calls for clean water and sanitation for all.
It ends Friday.