ED boreholes inspire hope, development
Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]
THE Presidential Borehole Drilling Scheme has inspired hope and development in Binga through improved access to clean and safe water, which is transforming the livelihoods of the previously marginalised remote and dry district in Matabeleland North province.
For many years, the people of Binga have relied on hand-pumped boreholes, which are often scarce, unreliable, and contaminated. But things are changing for the better, thanks to a new Government initiative that aims to provide water for all.
Since its commencement early last year, the initiative involves drilling boreholes and establishing nutritional gardens in every village across the country, starting with the homesteads of the traditional leaders.
One of the beneficiaries of this initiative is Chief Binga, who was amazed and delighted to see the development coming to his doorstep.
He and his subjects witnessed the drilling of a borehole, the installation of two 10 000-litre water tanks, the laying of a piped water scheme, and the creation of a one-hectare nutritional garden at his homestead.
The project was supervised by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, who visited Chief Binga’s homestead last Wednesday.
Dr Masuka explained that the project is part of a well-planned Government programme to ensure improved access to water and food security for rural communities.
He said the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) had procured 100 rigs to be deployed to each of the country’s districts to drill boreholes.
Better Brands, a contracted company, is responsible for setting up the nutritional gardens, which would provide a variety of crops for the villagers, the minister said.
The initiative is expected to have a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people of Binga.
It will also enhance their resilience to climate change, which has worsened the water scarcity and drought in the region.
“President Mnangagwa said we should drill boreholes in every village in the country. We have 35 000 villages and village heads, So Zinwa has procured 100 borehole drilling rigs so each of the country’s districts will have borehole drilling equipment. We want to make sure that at the end of 2026, we have completed this process,” said Dr Masuka.
He added that the Government plans to drill boreholes in each of the country’s schools to improve sanitation.
Dr Masuka said that communities should also engage in empowerment projects in their respective locations.
“We have also said that in each ward, we identify two places where we drill a borehole, electrify it and mount tanks so that they embark on a horticulture irrigation programme. These are projects to benefit communities. We don’t want our youth to be idle and some of them end up abusing drugs,” said Dr Masuka.
He said for the chiefs, Government has a separate programme as it is also drilling boreholes and establishing nutritional gardens for them for improved food security.
“This equipment that is being installed here means you now have a business. I have experts here who will explain to you how you should run this enterprise which we call the village business unit. They will teach how you will commercialise this entity and how you can access markets. This is a business that the President has started for you. This is the same thing we are doing at the irrigation (Bulawayo Kraal), it is a business that we are starting,” he said.
Following consultations with project implementers, Dr Masuka said precision farming and drip line irrigation will be used at the chief’s homestead to save water. He stated that the Government will support the chief because farming is now a business, and he is required to hire field workers.
Chief Binga expressed gratitude to the Government for bringing development and hope to his people.
“These projects are not just going to assist me but the community as well. We are truly appreciative of what has been done here. We want to express our gratitude to the Government for the things that it is now doing for us. I don’t have much to say,” said Chief Binga.
Better Brands Operations Director Mr Herbert Pako said they will drill boreholes in all 17 Binga chiefs’ homesteads.
“We are in Binga at Chief Binga’s homestead where we are drilling a borehole and also installing drip irrigation system. We are also installing tanks for water reticulation, the borehole that we have installed here is 85 metres deep so we expect that it will be pumping four litres per second. We have installed 10 000-litre tanks and we have installed piped water taps and we expect to have completed installing the nutritional garden in the coming two days,” said Mr Pako.
He said the one hectare nutritional garden is expected to increase food security for the traditional chief, who is also the community’s head.
“Apart from his homestead, we are also going to install tap water within this area so that the community can also have access to water. In the chief’s homestead we have installed four taps. We are going to do this in all the homesteads of the 17 chiefs in Binga. We also expect to replicate this system across Binga as we are working with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority,” he said.
Mr Pako said it was an honour for his organisation to be a part of ensuring that President Mnangagwa’s ambition of delivering potable water while enhancing food security is realised through the installation of 35 000 boreholes and nutritional gardens at village level. — @nqotshili