Impact Of Legislation On Community Based Management Of Water For Informal Irrigation In Southern Africa: Case Studies of Zimbabwe and Tanzania
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This paper analyses the impacts of water and environmental laws on informal irrigation farming in Zimbabwe and Tanzania. It explores how legal frameworks in Zimbabwe and Tanzania have for years hindered the development of community-based management of water for informal irrigation purposes. This is illustrated in the article by a detailed analysis of water and the environmental legislations of Zimbabwe and Tanzania. The actor-oriented approach theoretical framework guides the analysis of the data presented in this article. The case studies of Zimbabwe and Tanzania serve to illustrate that legislation in the Southern African region has yet to reach a point where it promotes sound community-based management of water for informal irrigation farming. It is also not clear how new water acts, such as the one introduced in Zimbabwe in 1998, will promote community-based management of water among informal irrigators. Given this scenario of legislation that does not promote community based management of water by informal irrigators, the participants in this economic activity have resorted to ignoring legal provisions and have, in most cases, developed their own local rules and regulations that govern management of water resources in their localities. This article contends that it is time governments in Southern Africa accepted informal irrigation and enacted laws that encourage the sustainable management of water by the local communities. Enacting laws that impede informal irrigation, as is the current situation, will sideline local communities from taking an active role in managing natural resources.