Conflict management dillemas in the Umvumvumvu catchment, Eastern Zimbabwe
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This paper briefly explores conflict management dilemmas In water allocation posed by the absence of effective conflict resolution mechanisms in the Umvumvumyu catchment in eastern part of Zimbabwe. Table 1 shows the main actors in the catchment with their iegai water entitlements. It is argued that poor legislation governing water allocation, the Water Act (1976) No. 41, which does not reflect the new political and social realities, has iargely been responsible Reduced water flows in the river worsened the problems. Most of the users in the catchment do not incorporate the provisions of the Act into their behaviour. The priority system ’which espouses the principle of first- come-first-served in granting water rights and first-come-last-out during periods of water scarcity was a major problem. Also, the fact that water rights were expressed in absolute terms did not help either. A centralized conflict resolution structure located far away (about 400 km) in Harare, the capital city , which moreover, was costly, complex and promulgated alien concepts of conflict resolution compounded the problem. Further compounding this situation were a group of users who, although sharing a common water source, found little reason to co-operate. The rigid legal water allocation regime that was not matched by flexible water sharing arrangements which recognise natural flow variations represented yet another problem.