Building resilience through improved watershed management

The increasing frequency of climate extremes, particularly drought and heavy rainfall events, coupled with shifting rainfall patterns are major climate change related challenges facing Zimbabwe. Oxfam through the support from UNDP and GEF is implementing a project focusing on Scaling up Climate Change Adaptation in Zimbabwe, with a focus on rural livelihoods.

In the face of one of the worst rain storms recoded to date in Chimanimani. The project has successfully managed to implemented an integrated micro watershed management intervention to climate proof over 400 ha Nyanyadzi Irrigation Scheme from siltataion as a result directly benefiting over 705 vulnerable households.

Heavy rainfall events paired with a degraded micro catchment upstream of the Nyanyadzi irrigation scheme often resulted in heavy runoff water clogging the irrigation canals, weir and night storage dams with silt. These challenges resulted in a once thriving irrigation scheme experiencing a 40% drop in productivity. Using technical expertise the project intervention achieved the following integrated outcomes:

– Slowed down runoff and minimised soil erosion from the micro catchment upstream of the irrigation scheme,
– Redirecting runoff and discharging it safely into the river system through 3km long storm drains,
– Desiltation of weir, canals and overnight storage dam resulted in increased water supply.
– Through improved supply of gravity fed water for irrigation, the viability of the irrigation scheme was restored, enhancing the livelihoods and adaptive capacity of the local community.


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