Sprouting Life From The Ground Up!
Water is the earth’s lifeblood and arguably the most precious and vital resource to sustain and enhance life. It allows us to combat issues such as food insecurity on the African continent.
However, climate change on the continent is a burgeoning problem, creating vast food shortages in the region. A SADC synthesis report estimates that 44.8 million people in both urban and rural areas of Southern Africa are food insecure.
The picture may seem grim, but groundwater shines a light at the end of the tunnel, especially for vulnerable people. This year’s World Water Week under the theme “Building resilience faster” is a reminder to advocate for the sustainable use of our water resources as a means to strengthen our communities.
SADC Groundwater Management Institute (SADC-GMI) continues to work with SADC Member States in this regard. Practices undertaken by the institute help build resilience and strengthen the management and development of groundwater for social and economic development and to provide food and clean water to communities in need.
SADC-GMI Senior Groundwater Specialist Mr Brighton Munyai explains groundwater usages, and ways in which it provides the region with an opportunity to alleviate the effects of climate change by offering water to the communities who need it most.
“If you look at surface water where you have dams and rivers, and we take it in the context of our rural communities who are mainly relying on subsistence farming, groundwater is able to reach the dispersed communities,” he said.
According to the World Bank, almost 60% of sub-Saharan Africans live in rural areas. In the region, rural food insecurity was forecasted to have peaked between November 2020 and January 2021, according to the SADC Synthesis Report.
SADC-GMI Executive Director Mr James Sauramba further describes how the institute implements numerous projects to promote sustainable groundwater management and provide solutions to groundwater challenges involving poverty and food shortages.
“We also had two projects of a similar nature in the Limpopo Valley Basin,” said the Executive Director of SADC-GMI, Mr James Sauramba.
In the Limpopo River Basin, the SADC Secretariat mandated SADC-GMI to revive seven pilot projects in the area. The Dite and Whunga communities in northern Zimbabwe have benefited as a result of these legacy projects. SADC-GMI partnered with World Vision Zimbabwe to commence the rehabilitation process in 2019.
Today, communities that are most vulnerable to drought have thriving gardens that yield vegetables including tomatoes and covo.
World Vision Zimbabwe WASH Technical Advisor Mr Morris Chidavaenzi said there are numerous testimonials of people’s lives who have been transformed through the two solar-powered boreholes that yield between 5 000 – 6 000 litres of water per hour for the Dite and Whunga communities.
“They can now provide food for their children, they are raising income from the sale of produce and the burden of water carrying has been reduced,” he said.