Facilitating the development of an institutional model in mzingwane catchment council
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Facilitating the development of an institutional model in Mzingwane Catchment Council. Some Lessons Emmanuel Manzungu Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, University of Zimbabwe. THREE CRITICAL QUESTIONS:. 1. Who are the water users?

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Facilitating the development of an institutional model in Mzingwane Catchment Council

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Facilitating the development of an institutional model in Mzingwane Catchment Council

Some Lessons

Emmanuel Manzungu

Department of Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering,

University of Zimbabwe


1. Who are the water users?

2. How can the water users best be represented?

3. How to deal with representation at different scales:

a) local

b) sub-catchment council

c) catchment council

d) basin

CONTEXT –SCALE AND BOUNDARIESHydrological boundaries

  • Country divided into catchment and sub-catchment areas

  • Presided over by catchment and sub-catchment councils

  • Boundaries determined by technicians

CONTEXT –SCALE AND BOUNDARIESHydrological boundaries

  • Mzingwane catchment (Limpopo basin in Zimbabwe) divided into 4 sub-catchment council areas


    -Upper Mzingwane

    -Lower Mzingwane &


CONTEXT –SCALE AND BOUNDARIESHydrological boundaries

Notable Deficiencies:

  • 1) General lack of awareness of the new institutions

  • 2) Gap between grassroots water users, e.g. smallholder irrigation schemes, primary users and the sub-catchment council

  • 3) Poor link between catchment council and basin institution

CONTEXT –SCALE AND BOUNDARIESSocio-politicaladministrativeboundaries

  • Socio-political administrative boundaries (local; government) are an important reality

  • Are a mixture of traditional, elected and appointed (executive) institutions

  • Reflect both national and local dynamics and sometimes even regional dynamics

  • Local government system is heavily layered

  • Any institutional model has to take account of this








Chiefs Council

Provincial Governor

Provincial Council


P A Chiefs

District Administrator

Rural Development Council


Chief (s) /Headman/men




Headman /Kraalheads







Traditional village



  • Decision to start at the grassroots level

  • Mzingwane Catchment Council and ZINWA chose Shashe sub-catchment as the pilot

  • Three wards representing

    -Irrigation scheme that uses water from ZINWA dam

    -Irrigation scheme using water ‘illegally’

    -Irrigation scheme using ZINWA-operated pumps (sand abstraction)

Model development in three wards

ANSWERING QUESTION 1Who are the water users/stakeholders?

  • We avoided pre-identification of stakeholders

  • We allowed local people to identify who the stakeholders were

  • We adopted the least resistance approach –start with less controversial issues

    • Started with WATER USES and not WATER USERS, in case there was a squabble between some users

    • Avoided asking first what were the water problems

    • From water uses people were asked to list water users

ANSWERING QUESTION 1Who are the water users/stakeholders?

  • Local people admitted forgetting number, location and status of boreholes!

  • Even the preliminary session could not sort out the problem –PRA blues!!!

  • Men tend to know less about boreholes!!!!

ANSWERING QUESTION 1Who are the water users/stakeholders?

  • Student-assisted map of water resources at ward level

  • Important for information and local solidarity

ANSWERING QUESTION 1Who are the water users?

The exercise in THREE wards in Shashe produced the following categories of water users:

Makwe: Primary users (domestic, brickmakers, livestock owners), Irrigators,miners (large scale and panners)

Hwabayi: Primary users (domestic, brickmakers, builders, businesses, livestock owners), irrigators

Guyu: Primary users (domestic, gardeners, livestock owners, schools, businesses, Police, Army) irrigators

ANSWERING QUESTION 1Who are the stakeholders?

Categories of stakeholders across the wards

Primary water users




Rainfed farmers were mentioned but considered not to warrant a separate group

In what way are these different from the existing categories as captured by the top down approach?

ANSWERING QUESTION 1Who are the stakeholders?

  • Rural District Councils.

  • Communal Farmers.

  • Resettlement Farmers.

  • Small scale commercial farmers.

  • Large scale commercial farmers.

  • Indigenous commercial farmers.

  • Urban authorities.

  • Large scale mines.

  • Small scale mines.

  • Industry and any other stakeholder group the SCC may identify


ANSWERING QUESTION 2How best to represent stakeholders?


Current system as spelt out by statutory instrument – not known and unsuitable

Existing water points committees –rejected as ineffective

Traditional leaders - not welcome unless elected

Ward political councillors - not wanted

Dedicated water institution above water points committees

Representation by villages or ward?

ANSWERING QUESTION 2How best to represent stakeholders?

‘Village’ was too small/unsuitable

Ward - most appropriate as it is the most common social organising principle

Therefore form a Ward Water Users Association (WWA).

WWA can be seen an extension of activities of what happens at a ward e.g. food distribution, elections, etc & hence is not a new institution

ANSWERING QUESTION 2Constituting a Ward Water Users Committee

Effective Ward Water Users Committee means

a) Deciding on composition of the committee:

Base on agreed categories of stakeholders

Recall the following:

Primary users, irrigators, miners, others

Therefore at minimum have 3 members per ward according to main stakeholder groups

ANSWERING QUESTION 3Representation at subcatchment council level

Committee can incorporate other stakeholders e.g. traditional leaders, ward councillor, local NGOs etc with no voting rights.

i) Subcatchment council accommodates 15 members and yet there are 72 wards in Shashe subcatchment (216 ward representatives is unworkable)

ii) Solution is to base representation on district (Shashe has 4 districts –let each of the 3 stakeholder group be represented = 12 ward representatives in subcatchment council

iii) Ward representatives in a district are an electoral college (or body of people who elect representatives from among themselves)

ANSWERING QUESTION 3Representation at subcatchment council level

Remaining three slots can be occupied by other interests e.g. commercial farmers, large scale miners, town councils, tourist operator

The process did not go beyond the subcatchment level partly because

* everyone was tired.

* It was not unclear whether local people would want to engage

ANSWERING QUESTION 3Representation –Extrapolation to other subcatchments

  • Upper Mzingwane has 51 wards and 3 districts

  • Lower Mzingwane has 39 wards and 3 districts

  • Mwenezi has 54 wards and 4 districts

  • This means that ward representation will not be a problem – there is no subcatchment bigger than the Shashe.

ANSWERING QUESTION 3Representation at catchment council

The meeting of subcatchment and catchment councilors convened in Bulawayo resolved the following:

-it endorsed the formation of Ward Water Users Associations

-agreed with the election procedures at ward and district level

-Current practice of four subcatchment council going to sit at the catchment council should be maintained.

ANSWERING QUESTION 3Representation at the basin level

  • Direct representation at basin level institution e.g. LBPTC/LIMCOM) through the Chairman of Mzingwane Catchment Council (is this possible because countries can bring in advisors?) was strongly recommended

  • Insisted on transparency and accountability e.g. government representatives should consult and provide feedback of what happens at the basin

  • Basin forum that includes users from all four riparian countries?

New organogram

Conclusions Conceptual issues

  • In developing a model

  • Start with local water needs –not revenue collection or water resource management

  • Find common ground

  • Rely on most appropriate existing institutions and seek to strengthen them -a new broom does not always sweep clean!

  • Socio-political boundaries should not be ignored –seek to create complementarities with hydrologically-based institutions

  • Do not assume the traditional level is best –the ward with no traditional heritage emerged as the best platform

Conclusions Conceptual issues

  • Avoid over -aggregation where relevant details are lost e.g. stakeholders identified by the government

  • Avoid atomisation syndrome where local unviable institutions (for narrow purposes) are promoted

  • Model should be platform for general local water management issues

  • Model should be development platform (e.g. in Zim wards are required to produce development plans)

  • Model to deepen democracy?

Conclusions The future

  • The model was not tested

  • Therefore model needs to be carried to implementation

    • In Shashe

    • in other subcatchments in Mzingwane

    • Compared to Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa

    • Lessons learnt disseminated to other river basins

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