By Tovin Ngombe
The Small Scale Irrigation Project (SSIP) has observed that sedimentation has become a serious problem at Buleya Malima irrigation scheme on Lake Kariba in Sinazongwe district.
Sedimentation which is a process where small particles that are moved by run off water settle in the Lake has caused the canals for water intake at Buleya Malima to be shallow says the Projects Engineer Shadrick Phiri.
Mr. Phiri said the situation has reduced the level of water to be pumped for irrigation.
â€œThe situation at hand is that if we start pumping water now it may damage the pumping machine,â€ Mr. Phiri said.
He said dredging the silt and sand particles would be a problem as it requires a lot of money.
The SSIP coordinator Goerge Phiri said the steering committee would explore other avenues of having a pipe that will go dip into the lake Kariba to tap water for irrigation.
Mr. Phiri explained that sinking a borehole may not be the best solution since Lake Kariba was not natural and its water table may not be the same as the wetland.
Buleya Malima Irrigation Scheme Chairperson Peter Munakacheka noted that the project would be a failure if the problem of water for irrigation was not addressed.
Mr Munakacheka noted that the Project Steering Committee should ensure that they complete the canal in the third phase which was left out in the contract.The Scheme is being rehabilitated by the African Brothers Corporation.
Buleya malima was built in 1970 and it was officially opened by first republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda and stopped function well in 1980s.
Sinazongwe district Project Manager for Small Scale Irrigation Scheme Mulenga Sampa disclosed that government through Africa Development Bank has spent K2 , 118,710,000 on the rehabilitation of the Scheme.
Mr. Sampa explained that in response to governmentâ€™s policy of ensuring that the country has food security, the farmers would be growing crops such as Maize, egg plants, okra, tomatoes and other vegetable crops