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Establishment and capacity development of water user associations for appropriate water reuse in formal wastewater irrigation schemes in peri-urban Bulawayo,

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Presentation on theme: "Establishment and capacity development of water user associations for appropriate water reuse in formal wastewater irrigation schemes in peri-urban Bulawayo,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Establishment and capacity development of water user associations for appropriate water reuse in formal wastewater irrigation schemes in peri-urban Bulawayo, Zimbabwe T. A. Thebe 30 May 2013 Sub-theme: Towards measurable and effective KCD: indicators, comprehensive approaches and impact assessment Session 14: Measuring for sustainable success

2 Background and situation statement Zimbabwe is a water-stressed country with water scarcity being experienced in the low rainfall areas such as Bulawayo, Zimbabwes second largest city. Formal wastewater irrigation schemes have been in existence since the late 1950s. New challenges in terms of reduced conventional wastewater treatment capacity and poor conveyance of wastewater for treatment. Other changes including land reforms and reduced monitoring of water reuse. Existing legal framework for IWRM through the Water Act Chapter 20:24 of According to the new Water Policy of 2013, Zimbabwe is now in a recovery phase after the previous collapse of infrastructure and disengagement from key development partners in the North/developed countries. Picture of a collapsed sewer pipe in 2010 that has since been repaired but was directly discharging raw effluent to the river used by peri- urban communities for domestic and irrigation purposes. Wastewater collection and treatment challenges persist.

3 What the final declaration of the Rio+20 Summit says about the future that we want: A. Food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture 109. …We recognize the importance to take the necessary actions to better address the needs of rural (and peri-urban) communities through, inter alia, enhancing access by agricultural producers, in particular small producers, women, indigenous peoples and people living in vulnerable situations, to ….education and training, knowledge, and appropriate and affordable technologies, including for efficient irrigation, reuse of treated waste water, water harvesting and storage. We reiterate the importance of empowering rural (and peri-urban) women as critical agents for enhancing agricultural and rural development and food security and nutrition… B. Water and Sanitation 124. We stress the need to adopt measures to significantly reduce water pollution and increase water quality, significantly improve wastewater treatment, and water efficiency and reduce water losses. In order to achieve this end we stress the need for international assistance and cooperation. There is an interaction between A and B in the peri-urban areas. Challenges in urban water and sanitation such as untreated wastewater discharge fall upon peri-urban communities mainly but they also give opportunities for increases in food security and nutrition. Objective of this paper To demonstrate the key role of water user associations in peri-urban areas for appropriate water reuse through sharing of experiences in recognizing the need for their establishment, facilitating their establishment, and ensuring their capacity development to adequately and appropriately make use of the unconventional water resource within an enabling IWRM framework. Contributes to the attainment of the future that we want as stated in A & B above.

4 How we went about it Part (and also one of the outputs) of a study carried out in peri-urban Bulawayo to determine how irrigation systems impact wastewater quality and availability and the subsequent public health and environmental risks from formal wastewater irrigation schemes. Detailed site description available in full paper. Focused on two formal wastewater irrigation schemes: Umguza Irrigation Lots and Luveve Gum Plantation Irrigation Scheme. Generally followed Alaerts (1996): 1.Diagnosed sector performance and institutional strength and weaknesses: legislative and regulatory framework review; 3 levels of questionnaires (to farmers and technical support institutions); water quality and quantity monitoring exercise (water service aspects); soil and crop analysis, drinking water tests. 2.Articulated and prioritized the required capacities that need to be imparted to the individual institutions 3.Implemented the support by using a variety of tools and instruments including facilitating the establishment of WUAs with adequate women representation and educating women on risks. Left: A more experienced farmer shares on agricultural water management at Umguza Irrigation Lots; Right: A farmer remonstrates on agricultural water management at Luveve Gum Plantation

5 What we found and implemented (or recommended) No consideration of wastewater as a resource in catchment planning, poor organization of farmers who use wastewater for irrigation and their lack of representation in catchment water management Advised farmers to establish a water user association (voluntary association where they deliberate specifically on issues of their interest with regards to water in their irrigation scheme with membership not limited to land owners but also allows ordinary users of water such as female farm workers and dependents) so that they can map local responses to water challenges and recommend interventions required and be voted in to the sub-catchment council to represent their interests (farmers have and continue to do that). Other policy recommendations. The local authority has separate plans for wastewater treatment that are not part of the catchment water management plan and not necessarily in convergence with national water policy and without consideration of peri- urban communities – Government to address. At the point of use, the irrigation water is generally of acceptable quality for irrigation purposes. However, there are variations during seasons and farmers do not value the nutrients leading to leaching of nutrients (mainly nitrates). Irrigation infrastructure plays a key role in wastewater quality for irrigation for example storage structures are treatment facilities. Groundwater at Umguza Irrigation Lots has increased salinity and reduced palatability as well as high hardness that reduced acceptability for washing (women seek alternative water for domestic purposes). Crop contamination and drinking water contamination requires increased capacities for women to reduce associated risks – Need for knowledge sharing and training of farmers within their WUAs and enabling technical service providers to reduce risks and maximize benefits of wastewater irrigation. Information dissemination on proper agricultural practices (irrigation methods, fertilizer application) linked to prevailing water quality. Water authority has full control of water services at Umguza Irrigation Lots whereas local authority (City Council) has full control of water services at Luveve Gum Plantation: need for increased stakeholder participation (other agencies and civil society organizations including established WUAs. So who is and should be taking the lead? A collaborative effort is taking place and should continue with Government providing clear and adequate leadership and facilitation. Diverse stakeholder representation and participation is essential.

6 Purpose of 5th Symposium Thank you for your attention. Thubelihle A. Thebe Department of Irrigation ZW, Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization, and Irrigation Development Woman fetching (waste)water from main irrigation canal at Umguza Irrigation Lots for washing – these women are being informed of the risks and measures will be taken to ensure increased access to safe water as it is now a right recognized in Zimbabwes new constitution.


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