BEITBRIDGE – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has availed $32,4 million for a five year Resilient Waters project to address severe water challenges facing communities living around the Limpopo River Basin and Okavango River basins.
The programme is set to increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation services for nearly 21 million people spanning South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, and Namibia.
In addition, the initiative will also improve management of trans-boundary natural resources and strengthen ecological infrastructure needed to maintain healthy water systems.
USAID’s Zimbabwe Mission director, Ms Stephanie Funk confirmed the developments through a statement sent via the US Embassy’s (Harare) Public Affairs section on Wednesday.
“By conserving one of Zimbabwe’s most important natural resources, USAID’s Resilient Waters project will protect health and livelihoods and make communities more resilient in the face of climate change,” she said.
She said in the Limpopo River and its tributaries carry water to more than 800 000 people who depend on its consistent supply for their health and livelihoods.
The river, she said runs through a semi-arid region that is particularly vulnerable to climatic events, including the devastating 2015-2017 El Niño-induced drought.
“Resilient Waters will work with local communities to improve water management and increase access to safe drinking water and sanitation services along the Limpopo River Basin and within its catchment areas such as Matobo Hills.
“This follows the US Government’s Global Water Strategy, which supports efforts to create a water-secure world where communities can be resilient, retain this essential resource, and foster healthy, prosperous lives,” she said.
So far the Americans have contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Zimbabwe in the last 30 years.
Further, the organisation is currently implementing other initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health systems and services, and promote democratic governance.