From appropriating water to sharing it: water reforms in the Nyachowe catchment area
van der Zaag, Pieter
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Visit a catchment area in Zimbabwe, and you will encounter a situation full of contradictions and compromises. The differences between the worlds in which the commercial farmers and the communal farmers live are simply vast. Yet, they are there in the watershed, living side by side, as if it was self-evident. You will soon ask yourself, how could this situation change for the better? The most obvious answer is making access to resources more equal. Water is probably one of the most crucial, as it is a limiting factor in agricultural production in Zimbabwe. How could such a reform be accomplished? On the basis of a case study of a small catchment area of Nyachowa stream in Mutare district* I suggest that we can do three things with respect to water reform: 1) we need to reform the water act, 2) we need to redress the historically unbalanced distribution of water rights; 3) we need to base these reforms on watershed-specific data, that encompass a variety of disciplines, such as hydrology, law, history and sociology.