Farmers advised to have adequate water for winter wheat Agriculture expert and Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) board chairman Mr Ivan Craig yesterday urged farmers to match their water allocations from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) with their targeted hectarages to maximise the potential of their crop and mitigate water scarcity risks.

Fildah Gwati

WITH the winter wheat season fast-approaching, farmers intending to produce the cereal must ensure they have sufficient water resources for irrigation and decide on their hectarages basing on the available water, an expert has advised.

Agriculture expert and Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) board chairman Mr Ivan Craig yesterday urged farmers to match their water allocations from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) with their targeted hectarages to maximise the potential of their crop and mitigate water scarcity risks.

Mr Craig also advised farmers to engage the Irrigation Department in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development and conduct capacity tests on water sources, which will help them to make informed decisions on the hectares they effectively irrigate with the available water. This will also help them plan accordingly, he said.

“In cases where neighbouring farmers share a water source, it is recommended that they collaborate, as a cluster and by collectively assessing the water capacity and the total irrigable area, they can allocate water resources among themselves in an equitable manner. It is important that each farmer adheres to the recommended irrigable area to avoid overcrowding and potential crop failure. Increasing the hectarage beyond the capacity of the available water can lead to insufficient irrigation, hindering the crops’ ability to reach their physiological maturity,” Mr Craig said.

Meanwhile, Zinwa has also called on the farmers apply for water abstraction rights, as the authority moves to ensure water is used sustainably.

“To obtain a water abstraction agreement, prospective users should approach their respective Zinwa catchment offices and submit applications indicating the intended use of the water, physical address, required water volume and point of abstraction. Farmers intending to use water for irrigation purposes must also specify the crops to be irrigated.

“Upon receiving an application, Zinwa will assess the availability of water in their dams and if satisfied they will enter into a water abstraction agreement with the applicant,” Zinwa said in an X (formerly twitter) message.

 Once the agreement is established, the specified water allocation is reserved exclusively for the agreement holder and Zinwa releases water based on the user’s water orders until the full allocation is exhausted.

The message added that farmers at were required to install a metre or measuring device at their own cost to monitor water consumption and ensure adherence to the allocated volumes.

“Water abstraction agreement holders are responsible for paying for their water allocations in monthly instalments. However, stop order arrangements can be made for farmers who receive their income at the end of a particular season allowing them to settle the bills accordingly,” said Zinwa.

By obtaining water abstraction agreements, wheat farmers can ensure reliable access to water resources while contributing to the sustainable management of these valuable assets. It is recommended that all eligible water users comply with the requirements and secure the necessary agreements to avoid legal consequences and support the responsible use of water in the region.

The funds collected through water payments are crucial for the operation and maintenance of dams and related water infrastructure. These resources enable users to access water during the dry seasons when river flows are primarily dependent on dam releases.

“It is important to note that using water without the necessary authorisation documentation is considered an offense under Section 118 of the Water Act. Offenders may be subject to fines, imprisonment or both. Similarly exceeding the allocated water volume is also a violation of the water abstraction agreement,” Zinwa explained.

A water abstraction agreement is a contract that any person, entity or organisation who needs a reservation for their use of   raw water from Zinwa managed or State dams enters with Zinwa for the provision of his or her water requirements. 

You Might Also Like

Comments