EDITORIAL: Government, Prevail International borehole partnership good model to speed up access to water in line with national and UN goals

The cooperation between Government, through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, and Prevail International, a private sector player, to drill boreholes has had massive successes in the past few months demonstrating the efficacy of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Zimbabwe is aiming to provide 35 000 boreholes to villages across the country. The boreholes are equipped with solar and bush pumps.

The pace of bringing water to the people had been slow, since Independence, with boreholes serving large communities and villagers being forced to travel long distances to get water. To date, villagers in many parts of the country still walk on foot or use animal draught power to get water, which doesn’t last long for household use. There is none for irrigation.

In these situations, women and girls are disproportionately affected, as they mostly handle the task of looking for water. The tedium associated with this affects the quality of life and productivity.
People end up resorting to unsafe drinking sources, where they compete with animals.
By turning this situation around, Government is showing commitment to better the livelihoods of the people.

The involvement of private sector players such as Prevail International Group has been breakthrough because they bring in expertise, efficiency and delivery.

At the weekend President Mnangagwa revealed that in Muzarabani District, 46 boreholes had been sunk since April; and another 40 in Mt Darwin. The speed at which these have been delivered shows that the Government has found the right formula to bring water to rural communities as part of its obligations.

It is also critical to note that the thrust of the Government, in association with partners like Prevail International, will enable Zimbabwe to meet global goals set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDG 6, which deals with Clean Water and Sanitation, enjoins nations to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

Among its targets, SDG 6 aims to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030, as well as access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations. The goal also targets to substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

These are fundamental interventions being made in the construction of boreholes under the Second Republic. Notably, apart from clean water access, villagers are also able to cultivate nutrition gardens and plots of up to 1 hectare, serving up to 80 families.

Irrigation technologies introduced ensure water efficiency and maximum productivity, which will also boost household incomes.

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