|Lake Mutirikwi running dry|
|Sunday, 24 November 2013 16:13|
MASVINGO’s major water source Lake Mutirikwi, is fast running dry raising fears of a serious crisis in the province, amid reports that the water levels have decreased to eight percent. Addressing journalists
during a Zimbabwe Forestry Commission and the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Authority-organised media tour on Thursday, Kyle Recreational Park area manager Mr Chamunogwa Svosvayi said the situation at the main dam posed a threat to Masvingo province.
“As a province, we are sitting on a time bomb given the water levels at Mutirikwi Dam. The reservoir remains with only eight percent and that spells doom for the lives of a number of people in Masvingo,” he said.
He said if the dam dried up, thousands of lives in and around Masvingo urban would be adversely affected.
“If we wake up to find Lake Mutirikwi dried up one day, thousands of livelihoods would be under constant threat. People in Triangle, Chiredzi and Masvingo urban will suffer because there are no other dams with water around. A solution has to be found before it becomes worse than what it is now,” Mr Svosvayi said.
Mr Svosvayi deplored poor farming practices within the Mutirikwi catchment and attributed the drying of the dam to this action.
“The carrying capacity of the lake is 101 million litres but poor farming practices which are not environmentally friendly and continued irrigation of sugar estates in the Lowveld has affected water levels. The encroachment into the buffer-zone of the lake’s catchment area has also made the situation look dire,” he added.
The drying up of Mutirikwi might further worsen water challenges faced by residents who are already facing incessant water cuts.
It would also be a blow to Batanai Fishing Co-operative whose membership makes a living from fishing.
“We will definitely wallow in poverty if the lake happens to dry up since we solely depend on fishing as the means of survival. We do not have an alternative source of income,” said co-operative chairperson Mr John Mawondera.
The 90-square kilometre lake was designed to irrigate sugar plantations in the Lowveld but the activities are draining much of the water, leaving Masvingo City in a precarious position.