By Idah Mhetu
AN Environmental Management Authority (EMA) official, has claimed the wearing watches while drawing water from rural wetlands in the Midlands could be the reason they are drying up.
EMA Environmental officer for Gokwe North Allan Machenjedze, told journalists recently during an event to mark World Water Day held in the Midlands that the environmental agency was urging villagers to respect local tradition and stop wearing modern watches while harvesting the precious liquid from wetlands. Gokwe is naturally a dry region.
“You do not wear the modern watches while harvesting the wetlands,” Machenjedze said.
Machenjedze further urged the villagers from Gokwe Nembudziya, to resort mainly to the indigenous knowledge systems of water conservation in order to preserve the ecosystem.
“What we have done is that we have conducted workshops and encouraged them to stop using the modern harvesting tools that will damage the wetlands,” he said.
However, Environmental Management Agency (EMA) education and publicity manager, Steady Kangata, said the issue depends on the area.
“I have no idea but then it depends with the area,” said Kangata.
Officials argue that Gokwe North rural district risks exhausting its underground water reserves soon due to uncontrolled stream bank cultivation, it has emerged that some seven out of 11 wetlands have already been destroyed.
Machenjedze said Gokwe the persistent dry spells that continue to hit Gokwe have forced villagers to resort to stream bank cultivation in order to survive.
“Gokwe North has 11 wetlands and only four of them are still functional meaning seven have since been depleted, by mainly stream-bank cultivation,” said Machenjedze.
Zimbabwe is facing acute food shortage due to an El Nino induced dry spell that resulted in most crops being written off despite floods in the eastern parts of te country that left hundreds dead after a tropical storm two weeks ago.