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Zimbabwe comes to the aid of Limpopo communities battling water shortages

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By Goitsemang Matlhabe l IOL


Frequent water shortages experienced by communities in Musina, in Limpopo, may be a thing of the past come 2026, owing to a bilateral agreement entered into between South African and Zimbabwean water resource management departments.

Thanks to the efforts of South Africa’s Department of Water & Sanitation and Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, an agreement has been reached for the transfer of treated water from the Beitbridge water treatment works in the neighbouring country to the town of Musina.

The transfer of treated water from Beitbridge was a medium-term solution to address water supply challenges in the area, according to Minister of Water & Sanitation Senzo Mchunu.

He explained that the treatment plant had a capacity of 35 million cubic metres a year, which was not being fully used in Zimbabwe, as only 10% of the capacity was going to Beitbridge.

Coming on the back of a bilateral agreement for co-operation on water resources management and the establishment and functioning of a joint water commission in 2015, the two countries would kick-start an implementation plan and oversee the construction of a pipeline and pump stations to transfer 15 million cubic metres (about 41 megalitres) of treated water from Zimbabwe to Musina each day.

The construction projects would be overseen by the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, with the works expected to be completed in 2026.

In the interim, Mchunu said his department would work alongside the Vhembe District Municipality and the water services authority for Musina Local Municipality in addressing challenges with the existing water infrastructure, including rehabilitating the existing but non-functional boreholes while the project was being implemented.

“We are looking at operationalising the non-functioning boreholes in the Musina (area), and we believe that with the transfer of water from Beitbridge water treatment works, the challenges of water supply in Musina will be a thing of the past.

“We are saying it loudly that water supply will be more than the demand (for) water in the area. We are thankful to the government of Zimbabwe for being able to expedite this water-sharing deal, which will change the lives of the people of Musina,” said Mchunu.

Zimbabwe’s Dr Anxious Jongwe Masuka said: “I am very pleased that this day has come to fruition. It has taken years of negotiation, and I thank the technical team for having put (in) their very best for their countries.”