ZIMBABWE is currently battling its worst drought in 25 years after consecutive dry spells due to the El Nino weather phenomenon which has affected most parts of the Southern Africa region, government has said.
El Niño is a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns. El Niño-caused drought can be widespread, affecting southern Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, the Pacific Islands and the Canadian prairies
Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri said El Nino resulted in below normal rainfall during the 2015/16 farming season.
Addressing journalists in the capital last Friday, Muchinguri said national dam levels are now around 41.9 percent, which is well below the normal average of 62.3 percent for this time of the year.
Dams in Masvingo are the worst affected, with most just 21 percent full.
Muchinguri said her ministry would soon approach President Robert Mugabe with a view to declaring the country a water shortage area.
“In terms of the Water Act, Chapter 20:24 Section 3, all water is vested in the President,” she said.
“Guided by the same Act’s Section 61, I will again be approaching His Excellency the President of the Republic, Cde R.G. Mugabe, seeking to declare Zimbabwe a water shortage area.
“This provision, if granted, will allow the minister to redistribute water resources for the common good of everyone.”
The minister “urged all stakeholders to appreciate the challenges we face and need therefore, to pull everyone through to the next rainfall season”.
Last week the government availed US$7 million towards ‘Emergency Drought Mitigation’ efforts countrywide.
The funds, according to Muchinguri, “would be channelled towards further emergency responses in all areas including such interventions such as borehole repairs, drilling, piped water schemes repairs, water supply.