Dam levels continue to be on the rise as a result of the widespread rains being received across the country. Quite a number of dams in the seven Catchments are now full and spilling. Dams that are now 100% full or more include Chivero, Harava, Pollards, Mazvikadei, Bhiri-Manyame, Nyambuya, Upper Insiza, Mundi-Mataga, Bangala and Woodlands. The spilling of dams raises the risk of flooding for communities downstream. People in the areas should take caution when crossing rivers and are advised to ensure the safety of any irrigation equipment that may be in the rivers.
The national dam level average has risen to 59,2% with Manyame Catchment having a dam level average of 101, 2%, Gwayi Catchment with 101,7 %, Sanyati Catchment with 101,2%, Mazowe Catchment with 91,8% and Mzingwane Catchment with 89,6%. Runde and Save are at the bottom with dam level averages of 28,9% and 64, 5% respectively.
The table below shows the state of some of the major dams
|Chivero||Manyame||Irrigation and Water Supply||105,5|
|Mazvikadei||Manyame||Irrigation and Mining||106,4|
|Manyame||Manyame||Water Supply and Irrigation||91,9|
|Karoi||Manyame||Water Supply and Irrigation||91,9|
|Bubi-Lupane||Gwayi||Water Supply and Irrigation||104,2|
|Exchange||Gwayi||Irrigation and Water Supply||103,9|
|Mtshabezi||Mzingwane||Irrigation and Water Supply||67,8|
|Upper Ncema||Mzingwane||Water Supply||60,5|
|Lower Ncema||Mzingwane||Water Supply||22,9|
|Mutirikwi||Runde||Irrigation and Water Supply||16,7|
|Sebakwe||Sanyati||Water Supply and Irrigation||102,3|
|Nyambuya||Mazowe||Irrigation and Water Supply||100,0|
|Wenimbi||Save||Water Supply and Irrigation||102,5|
Small Dams that are breaching/ bursting
Over the past days, there have been incidents of small dams being washed away or breaching. These small dams are largely private dams on people’s properties or communal dams which are not under the purview of ZINWA.
Owners of such dams have an obligation under the Water Act to take all the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of their dams and the surrounding places.
Section 109 of the Water Act reads “if the owner of a small dam or large dam learns of any sudden or unprecedented flood or alarming or unusual circumstance of occurrence, whether anticipated or existing, which may adversely affect the small dam or large dam, he shall, in addition to discharging any duty, liability or obligation imposed on him by or under any other law (a) forthwith take all such steps as may be reasonable or practicable for dealing with flood circumstance or occurrence as the case may be and (b) as soon as practicable and by registered letter notify the Secretary (for Environment, Water and Climate) and the National Water Authority (ZINWA), as fully as possible, of the flood, circumstance or occurrence, as the case may be, and of the action he has taken or proposes to take.”
Failure to comply with these requirements constitutes a criminal offence and offenders are liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to six months or both such imprisonment and a fine.
In most incidents of dam failures, such as the Borrowdale Dams case in Harare, these legal requirements have not been adhered to while preliminary enquiries with other relevant institutions have pointed out that the dams were not even registered. ZINWA appeals to owners of these small dams to comply with the law.