Rural communities in Hwange are struggling to get water as small dams have dried up while boreholes have broken down.

The situation is forcing locals to travel long distances to fetch water despite the high temperatures being experienced in the district.

The matter came to the fore at Mabale Business Centre where the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate held a ‘Meet the People Tour’ today.

The ‘Meet the People Tour’ gave the Mabale community an opportunity to express concerns which include a wide variety of issues such as human wildlife conflict, hunting quotas and veld fires.

However, it is the water shortages in the local communities that seemed most prominent in most of the villages.

The villagers said the majority of the boreholes available in the wards broke down, thus creating a serious water shortage for both human and livestock consumption.

According to Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) officials, the organisation has unveiled a programme to purchase drilling rigs which will be used to sink boreholes in all the ten provinces at a cost of US$2 million that was availed through the water fund.

Environment, Water and Climate Minister, Cde Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said her ministry will immediately begin the rehabilitation of the boreholes adding government will ensure that people in rural communities have piped water schemes to ease the shortages of water.

“We have allocated US$300 000 for weirs and US$200 000 for boreholes for each province. Dr Sakupwanya i am committing myself to the drilling of boreholes, please make sure that you give priority to dry areas like these particular wards here in Hwange,” said Cde Muchinguri-Kashiri.

ZINWA has identified 35 small dams for rehabilitation and desilting in the province while the local community is looking for development partners to rehabilitate three weirs to ease the water shortages currently being experienced.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to construct 11 dams including Ziminya in Nkayi, Pollard in Bubi and Chibila in Binga as part of the government`s initiative to improve access to water in the province.