An evaluation of the community based water resource management approach as a strategy of sustaining community water resources in Zimbabwe; a case of Simbumbumbu

Author: Nyathi, Siphephisiwe

The Community Based Management (CBM) is a strategy adopted by world governments after the Earth Summit of 1992 as an approach to solve challenges of growing rapid demand of clean water. The strategy is used to promote maintenance and management of water sources by users. The aim of the study was to evaluate the CBM approach as the strategy of sustaining community water sources. The study sought to assess and found out whether the CBM has led to sustainable management of clean water sources in Simbumbumbu ward in Gwanda district. A case study design was adopted during the study. Population was sampled using purposive sampling technic to select respondents who were most likely generate useful data. Data collection tools such as interviews and questionnaires were used. Mobilisation meetings were held with field monitor and Dabane Water Workshop field officers in preparation for data collection. Data was collected from both users of water points and committee members. Twenty-three respondents encompassing of 13 females and 10 males were interviewed. Data collected was analysed using SPSS and graphs were constructed using Microsoft excel. Findings of the study revealed that the CBM approach in Gwanda district was implemented through 5 phases which included; training of project staff members, district planning meetings, ward leadership meetings, village leadership meetings and water point level meetings. Traditional sand wells were the main sources of water used by the community before introduction of Sand Abstraction System (SAS) water points. SAS water pumps were said to be easy to use and maintain because they had low maintenance costs. Boreholes had challenges of unavailability of spare parts. Training sessions conducted in the ward led to improved participation because they provided communities with knowledge and skills they required to actively participate in water programmes. Moreover active participation of all people within the community led to sustainable management of water sources. The researcher concluded that the communities prefer water sources that require minimum operation and maintenance that can be covered using local resources; community perceptions on ownership have an influence on the levels of community participation; community participation can be enhanced through capacity building ; and also that availability of spare parts is an important aspects that should be considered when selecting type of technology to be used by rural communities in development programmes.