As the water year beckons, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) has mobilised resources to improve its visibility at the dams and in farming areas with a view to improve compliance by water users and also to maintain dam safety. ZINWA’s intention is to eradicate illegal use of water, especially by the irrigators.
The water year began on April 1, 2018 and in terms of the law, all current raw water users are supposed to renew their water abstraction agreements while new users are expected to come on board and sign the same agreements. In the past, illegal water use along the river systems deprived ZINWA millions of dollars and many farmers got away with that. However, it will be a different game altogether in the coming water year.
Some of the farmers had been complaining that ZINWA was not visible on the ground in terms of dam maintenance, monitoring of water abstraction along river channels and registering irrigating farmers. In response to these calls, ZINWA has acquired dam maintenance equipment which shall be distributed to various dams ahead of the water year. The equipment includes motorised grass cutters and chainsaws.
These will be used to remove grass and trees on dam embankments. The growth of trees and grass compromise the structural integrity of the dams, raising the risk of them getting breached. These machines will also bring efficiency to the dam maintenance processes which have largely been manual. This will now allow ZINWA staff at the dams to focus on the registration of water users and monitor water in their respective areas.
In addition, ZINWA has acquired motorbikes for water bailiffs to improve their mobility and build capacity for them to effectively monitor water use and visit farms. These efforts are part of the broad measures that ZINWA is implementing as it works towards ensuring compliance by water users across the country.
In terms of the law people and organisations using water from ZINWA managed dams for any purpose other than primary purposes, are required to do so in terms of a water abstraction agreement which their enter into with ZINWA. Any use of such water without the relevant documentation constitutes a criminal offence punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both.
When one enters into a water abstraction agreement with ZINWA, his water allocation is immediately reserved in the dam and released exclusively to him. No one else can access the water and the emergence of illegal water users along the conveyance channels throws both the allocation holder and ZINWA into serious jeopardy.
Illegal water user not only deprive ZINWA of potential revenue, but also distorts demand for water, compromising ZINWA’s ability to efficiently allocate available water resources to the competing water use needs. Illegal water users also effectively deprive documented users of their rightful allocations. ZINWA releases water from its dams according to allocations given to registered users hence illegal users draw from the registered users’ allocations.
In this regard, ZINWA continues to encourage all prospective raw water users for the upcoming water year approach their respective ZINWA offices and ensure that they sign water abstraction agreements. No water shall be made available to undocumented users in the course of the year.
For more information you can contact the ZINWA Corporate Communications and Marketing Department on [email protected] or visit www.zinwa.co.zw You can also follow us on Twitter @zinwawater.