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Mtirikwi water levels rise further

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Mtirikwi water levels rise further

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SIMBARASHE MTEMBO

MIRROR REPORTER

MASVINGO–Water levels at Mtirikwi Dam have risen further to 98,9% following heavy rains in the last few days but the prospects of it spilling over for the first time in 17 years since 2005 are getting bleak.

However, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) on Sunday warned people downstream to be wary of possible floods as a result of the dam spilling. Last year water levels ended at 97,9%, Zinwa spokesperson Tsungirirai Shoriwa confirmed.

Meteorological Department head of Public Weather Service James Ngoma however, told The Mirror that Masvingo is receiving its last rains this season on Friday April 22, 2022 with light showers expected on Tuesday next week.

The dam has just 1,1% to go before it spills over but some large rivers that feed into the dam are not even flowing, according to Zinwa officials.

The dam is probably the only large dam in Masvingo Province that did no spill this year. Tugwi-Mukose Dam, the country’s largest inland water body which is 60km south-west Mtirikwi dam and one-and-half times bigger than Mtirikwi has spilled almost every year since its commissioning in 2017.

The water authority has also since issued a statement dated April 17, 2022 warning communities downstream that the dam is highly likely to overspill and they should therefore desist from crossing flooded rivers and ensure that all irrigation equipment is removed or properly secured.

“Masvingo’s rain season is ending tomorrow with light showers expected on Tuesday next week. Catchment areas have received significant amounts of water which will flow to water bodies and some water bodies may possibly fill-up,” said Ngoma. 

The dam’s average water level for the past decade has been around 42% and, in some cases, it dropped to as little as 18%.

Water level figures released by Zinwa show that the dam level increased by 0.7% from April 4, 2022 to date.

“Zinwa would like to advise stakeholders and communities downstream of Lake Mutirikwi due to the rains received upstream of the dam in the past days; which in turn led to increased inflows into the lake.

“Communities downstream are advised to be on high alert to desist from crossing flooded rivers and to ensure that all irrigation equipment along river channels is removed or properly secured,” reads part of the notice.

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