Featured Image: New Solar Panels for the new project in Whunga
As part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management in SADC Member States project funded by the World Bank, SADC-GMI was mandated to use some of the funds to undertake a follow-up study of the seven pilot interventions in the Limpopo River Basin implemented under the SADC Groundwater and Drought Management Project undertaken with World Bank funding between 2007 to 2011. These pilot interventions were in Botswana (Gobang, Tsetsejwé), Zimbabwe (Dite, Whunga) and South Africa (Maheni, Sagole, Shakadza). SADC-GMI contracted Wellfield Consulting Services based in Gaborone, Botswana, to conduct the assessment in 2018.
The overarching objective of the assessment was to monitor the success of the implemented interventions with respect to achieving the objectives of the project, especially the maintenance or enhancement of community livelihoods during drought by improved utilisation of groundwater, and to monitor any potential environmental (social and physical) impacts created by the implemented interventions.
Ensuing the assessment of the pilot projects, SADC-GMI contracted the World Vision Zimbabwe to rehabilitate the water supply community schemes in Dite and Whunga District, Zimbabwe. The rehabilitation process commenced on May 2019 and will be completed at the end of June 2020.
Dite and Whunga are situated close to Beitbridge, a dry area with very high temperatures mounting to 40 degrees Celsius. Accessing water for human consumption in this area has always been challenge at both household and local institutional level as rainfall is minimum. Due to lack of water (surface water) the community cannot conduct activities that require reliable and effective supply of water such as subsistence farming and household chores. As surface water resources are decreasing, the community is turning to groundwater as their primary source of water. For the past years Dite and Whunga community have experienced acute water challenges which negatively impacted their livelihoods- they could not grow vegetables in their gardening schemes and perform other activities that required reliable supply of water. It is evident that the rehabilitating of these projects will allow the community to tap into under-utilized groundwater resources and enhance water and food security and economic development for the community. Albert Ndanga, Project Manager from World Vision, Zimbabwe highlighted that rehabilitation in this case involved conducting capacity testing for existing borehole and sand dam that were drilled when the previous projects were implemented, drill new boreholes in the two sites, design and install solar powered infrastructure, reconstruct and fence1 hectare gardening in each site that had not been utilized since the schemes were abandoned and train the community on the operation and maintenance of the infrastructure to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Dite and Whunga community taking care of their newly refurbished 1h gardening scheme- the project has definitely changed life of the community, they can now produce fresh vegetables, eat and sell to the local market.
Both sites Dite and Whunga had old water infrastructure- borehole in Dite and a SandDam in Whunga which were built during 2007-2011 funding, the project team assessed these infrastructures to determine if they could still provide water to the community. The assessment revealed the old infrastructure was no longer capable of supplying water to the community, because it had been abandoned, that culminated to two new sites being identified where new boreholes with sufficient capacity were successfully drilled.
The rehabilitation of Dite and Whunga project has directly transformed and impacted the lives of more than a thousand community men, women and children who are now able to access safe drinking water despite invariable rainfall currently experienced in the region. Butalso community members who are not directly linked to the schemes will benefit from the project.
This project has seen inclusion of more women in water resources which is critical as research has shown that agricultural productivity improves when women have access to water management technologies and innovations at local level.
The project is funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Cooperation in International Waters in Southern Africa through World Bank funding. The project is another endeavour by SADC-GMI of addressing water challenges in the SADC region, and ensuring that communities have access to clean and safe water for improved livelihoods.
Water point close to the gardening scheme to ensure easy access to water all the time.
Few facts about water security in the 21st century!
- Water security is one of the most pressing global challenges of the 21st century
- Global water consumption has doubled every 20 years, and by 2025, at least 2/3rds of the world’s population will likely be living in water stressed areas. These development pressures create many challenges for securing the long-term supply of water upon which people and nature depends.
Few examples of global water security concerns include:
- Water stress currently affects 2 billion people worldwide, and 1 in 4 cities.
- Water-related natural hazards – which include floods, mudslides, storms and related ocean storm surges, heat waves, cold spells, droughts and waterborne diseases – account for 90% off all natural hazards.
- Urban water demand is projected to increase by 80% by 2050.
- Water consumption for energy production is predicted to increase by 85% by 2035
- These concerns are further exacerbated by increasing climate variability, particularly in terms of its role in amplifying water-related natural disasters that threaten urban areas, agricultural production, and coastal populations.