Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter—
MANY boarding schools in Matabeleland South are panicking over low water levels in their dams ahead of the opening of schools next week as the dry spell continues in the country. School heads are worried over the looming water crisis which might hit their schools if rains do not come soon. Most of the schools pump their water from dams and have no alternative water sources.
Schools that may be affected if adequate rains do not fall include Matopo, Embakwe, Manama and Wanezi High Schools. Matopo High head, Gadsen Sibanda, said his school was among the hardest hit in the province.
“The water we have may last only a month according to our analysis, which means if the rains don’t come then we’ll be faced with a serious challenge. We can’t last up to February. However, as of now, we’ve to rely on the available water and pray that the rains come soon,” said Sibanda.
Contrary to rumours that the school had told pupils not to come when the first school term opens on Tuesday, Sibanda said it will be business as usual and pupils must check in at the school on Monday.
He said the Brethren in Christ Church-run school has an enrolment of 979 pupils. “I heard that the worst situation was recorded in 1992. “We’re just praying that the situation doesn’t get to that extent,” said Sibanda.
He said in 2002 the school faced the same predicament and on the day that they had decided to send children home, it rained heavily thereby averting the crisis. “The challenge we have is that this area is so dry that we can’t have underground water. We rely on the dam for our water supplies,” he said.
Wanezi High school head, only identified as D Khumalo said she could only respond after visiting the school on Monday as she had not checked the dam levels.
Embakwe High head Martin Ndlovu was not reachable for comment as his phone went unanswered. Matabeleland South Provincial Education Director (PED), Thumisang Thabela said she was on leave until the end of month hence she could not immediately comment but the provincial administrator Midard Khumalo said the water situation in his province was very bad as most dams had dried up.
“Most of the big dams are drying up, small dams and streams have nothing they’ve all dried up. The situation is very bad,” said Khumalo. Matabeleland South senator, Chief Nyangazonke from Matobo district said the situation was desperate in most areas. “We never prepared enough, we’re caught in a terrible situation. People must come together to map a way forward,” said Chief Nyangazonke.