500 villages get potable water Prevail Group of Companies employees offload a consignment of solar panels for the Presidential Borehole Scheme in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Innocent Makawa

Over 500 villages throughout the country now have access to potable water as the Government continues to make strides under the rural development initiative.

In a statement on Monday, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) said as of yesterday, it had successfully drilled and equipped with bush pumps, 527 boreholes, which are benefiting an equivalent number of villages.

The boreholes were drilled and equipped under the ongoing Presidential Rural Development Programme, which is being implemented by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, through the ZINWA, Agricultural and RuralDevelopment Authority (ARDA) and AFC (formerly Agribank).

“Of the 527 boreholes fitted with bush pumps, 69 are in Matabeleland North, 41 in Mashonaland East, 73 in Manicaland, 45 in Mashonaland Central, 32 in Mashonaland West, 44 in the Midlands, 81 in Masvingo and 27 in Matabeleland South,” read part of the statement.

“The aim of the programme is to help uplift the standards of living for rural communities by among other things, reducing the distances travelled in search for water; a development that reduces the burden on women and girls who are largely responsible for fetching water in most households.

The Presidential Rural Development Programme is part of the Rural Development 8.0 drive whose other components include the Pfumvudza/Intwasa, Presidential Cotton Scheme, Presidential Blitz Tick Grease Scheme, Presidential Goat Scheme, the Vision 30 Accelerator Model and the Presidential Poultry Scheme.

The programme, ZINWA added, will also see the establishing of village business units (VBU) in each of the country’s 35 000 villages.

“The VBUs, which will be registered as formal companies and with community members being both shareholders and employees, will have a solar-powered borehole, water storage tanks, fish ponds, a one-hectare drip irrigated horticulture project and communal water points as its components,” it said. – New Ziana.

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