Multiple Water Use, a sustainability strategy for Zvipiripiri Piped Water Scheme

The availability of safe drinking water for human consumption and livestock has always been a challenge in Mutare Rural District. The district experienced recurrent droughts in the past decade with annual rainfall averaging only between 450 and 600 mm. The main sources of domestic water have been boreholes, deep wells, sand abstraction and rivers, most of which are seasonal.

Due to these water constraints, livestock travelled distances in excess of 10 kilometres to access drinking water and shortages of water impacts heavily on livestock production which is a main source of livelihood for the Mutare rural residents.

Through ZIRP, Zvipiripiri Village in Ward 16 Mutare benefited through the upgrade of Zvipiripiri borehole (hand pump) to a solar powered Piped Water Scheme (PWS). Mutare District Water and Sanitation Sub-Committee (DWSSC) with support from Mercy Corps, embraced multipurpose water use in the design of the solar piped water scheme.

The PWS does not only cater for safe and clean water provision for human consumption, but incorporated construction of cattle drinking trough for livestock as a productive use in addition to the domestic use of the water.

Zvipiripiri PWS is serving 168 households and two schools, Zvipiripiri Primary and Secondary schools. The two schools together have an enrolment of 1,197 pupils. All the 168 households’ in Zvipiripiri village own cattle or small livestock in the form of goats or sheep.

The trough for livestock is self-regulating cattle. This ensures that water is used efficiently for the herd of over 500 livestock from within the PWS catchment and beyond. This intervention will certainly improve animal health as livestock can now access clean water from the cattle troughs which were constructed along the PWS system. Access of water for small livestock like goats and sheep was also considered through construction of troughs at the terminal end of standpipe run off channel to collect excess water and ensure maximum utilisation of this precious liquid.