Mining Dries Up Majestic Mazowe Dam
1 October 2020
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Mazowe River rises north of Harare and flows northeast past Bindura Town, and thereafter forms part of the border of Zimbabwe and Mozambique on its final journey to the Zambezi River.

Misnamed Mazoe by white settlers who failed to pronounce its original Shona name Manzou, in the wet season, the river was known for becoming a raging torrent, often breaking its banks and causing damage to local communities and farms.

Today, the river has dried up owing to more than 20 years of being ripped, raped and violated by gold panners. In its silence, it protects and holds back the precious liquid.

Environmental degradation along the Mazowe Dam basin has increased due to mining activities forcing stakeholders to undertake urgent corrective measures.

The move comes as surrounding farmers are failing to irrigate their crops due to insufficient water.

Mazowe Dam is currently 21 per cent full, and its water retention capacity has decreased due to siltation caused by mining activities, thus raising concern as rains are fast approaching.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Mashonaland Central Honourable Monica Mavhunga assessed the dam on Wednesday afternoon tasking a technical committee of the Upper Mazowe Sub catchment to adopt permanent corrective measures.

“Let us find a permanent solution than to ask each other what to do. No one will come and save the dam for us.”

Upper Mazowe Sub-catchment Council Chairman Mr Flemming Dhlamini said the priority is to ensure the dam fills ups to sustain various economic activities.

“Our target is to ensure that when we receive reasonable rainfall this dam fills up, farmers right now could have been irrigating green mealies, beans and potatoes but that is not possible.”

Illegal settlements have since sprung up right on the river basin of Mazowe Dam which was built in 1920.

At full capacity, the dam holds 39 thousand megalitres.