ENVIRONMENT, Water and Climate minster Oppah Muchinguri has revealed that her ministry was recently allocated $80 million by Treasury to construct and repair dams, as part of efforts to intensify water harvesting projects to mitigate challenges posed by climate change.
Muchinguri told Southern Eye last week that officials from her ministry would soon be on the ground to conduct feasibility studies on dams which require repairs, as part of their 100-day quick-win government-led intervention plan.
“We are looking at providing water. We have been criticised over the years for not being prepared to deal with disasters,” she said.
“Last year, we had challenges of drought and we lost lives, properties because we were not maintaining our dams. So this year, we requested for funding from Treasury and they allocated us $80 million for dam construction and some for repairing critical ones because we have 108 that are really threatening to burst and it’s those that we are targeting now.
“We also want weirs to be constructed. We set aside $3 million to purchase cement, but communities have to come in with their labour and also provide us with the necessary building equipment that is needed like concrete and river sand, among others, so that we start harvesting water on every perennial river in preparation of any droughts that can
Muchinguri said every constituency would receive four solar-powered boreholes.
“In other areas like Binga, we have proven that the water table is lower than 100 metres. So we purchased rigs from South Africa which can go down to 150 metres. Basically, in one province, every constituency is expected to received four boreholes and resources permitting, we want to install solar panels and also tanks rather than the usual bush pumps,” she said.
“We want to build resilience of communities, so that they are able to put together community gardens as this will ensure that wares are not silted. So we will be killing two birds with one stone.”
Muchinguri said the weirs and dams would be supplied with fish that would create employment in the form of security guards at the artisanal fisheries, among others, while providing protein nutrition to communities.