Wells, Boreholes and Bulk Water Suppliers in Zimbabwe

irrigated field

The increase in the erratic nature of water supply in most urban centres has led to the need to augment the little water that is available. In Zimbabwe the main sources are wells, boreholes and bulk water suppliers. All have their short falls and as water specialists we feel it is our role to advise the public on the best practices.


Though reasonably priced, these are shallow in depth and in most cases are limited in the amount of water they can supply reliably. In many cases they are a cause of water borne diseases due to poor enclosure and in extreme cases exposure to leaks and spillage of sewer pipes. Best practice is to cover the well to prevent the entry of foreign materials.


This is another source of water which allows areas with limited supply to have potable water delivered in tanks. Bulk water has fixed rates in the range of $50 – $70 for 5000 litres. For areas were the commodity is not available this may be the reasonable source but in the long run the cost of the service is very high. At the moment there isn’t a formal regulatory system, which may compromise the health of consumers. Due care needs to be taken. Suppliers must be reputable companies with vehicles and bowsers that do not compromise the quality of the water.


The issue of boreholes raises a number of questions which we hope we can answer e.g. borehole siting, drilling, capacity testing and installation. To begin with, always work with companies that will leave you a technical report with full details of your borehole such as Thermal Industrial.


This process basically involves assessing the area in order to ascertain the best location to drill your borehole. This will consider the characteristics such as the rock, is it an aquifer aquitard or an aquiclud which will determine the capacity of the rock to hold water as well as to transmit it, which in turn will determine the discharge capacity. A number of devices can be used ascertain these underground conditions. This information is necessary for the driller to know the depth to drill. Please note, there is no set depth for a particular area although water is usually found before 40 metres. An area 50 metres apart from an existing borehole can have totally different conditions.


After siting, the drilling process can begin. There is need for valid siting because a dry hole still needs to be paid for by a client/property owner. A dry hole is not necessarily dry, water be further below the level reached which is usually no more than 40 metres. This challenge can be avoided if a competent siting report has detailed the expected water depth. Usually extra fees are payable after 40 metres, an accurate siting report helps the client budget for that cost. Casing is also another area to consider. This is mainly done to prevent the soil in the hole from collapsing. In most instances full casing is desirable. Pipes fitted must be counted. the size of the pipes which can either be 4 or 6 metre length must also be notes.


This is the determination of the rate of discharge of the hole. This specification is unique to a particular borehole and area. This information is necessary for the accurate determination of the size of pump to be installed. A 12 or 24 hour test can be done and this will determine the actual amount of water available. The size of the pump recommended to be 60% of the determined capacity.


A number of issues need to be considered with respect to installation. Submersible pumps are very sensitive to dry conditions and also the issue of current being received from the power source. One needs to be aware of the duty which is the discharge at a particular elevation difference. If the pump dries the borehole and runs dry this may cause the pump to burn out. There are devices like phase angle relays which can counter this problem. Although that is so, proper sizing of the pump is essential to prevent this. There is also need to have a secure set up ideally using poly pipes which can be easily pulled out. Galvanised pipes require more labour and are hence more secure but more expensive to install. The size of the outlet on the pump should be the basis for the pipework to be used. There is no need for a small outlet discharging into a big size pump as it only increases costs.


The reduction in cost of the plastic tanks has made them readily available. Though that is the case, the major concern is moving the water from the tank/storage unit to the house. In some cases a booster pump can be used or raising the pump may be appropriate. The elevation needs to be noted as this is essential in the pressure required to move the water and it allows water to flow in the pipes and out on the tap, shower etc.


When choosing the booster pump, note the head (elevation) that it can give as well as the maximum discharge it can do so as not to buy a pump that will not give a lower capacity. The increased number of suppliers of these pumps on the market calls for the buyer to pay closer attention. Ideally these specifications should be detailed by a specialist.

Still need more advise? Call us on +263714264299 or Email: info@thermal.co.zw

Embarking on an Agribusiness Entrepreneurial Journey in Ghana? Explore these Value Chain Opportunities


I’ve received several requests from fellow young persons with regards which commodity value chains to explore in Ghana when deciding to embark on their agribusiness entrepreneurial journeys.

In this post I’ve provided a brief overview of six value chains with potential for expansion, rural poverty reduction, and job creation. The brief covers cassava (gari), maize, irrigated maize, pineapple, sorghum, and soybean.  These commodities are based on interventions tested and proven by several agricultural development projects implemented in Ghana.

The cassava gari chain is very profitable and has high potential for employment creation in rural areas, in particular for women in processing and young men in outgrower schemes. However, the initial investment barrier is high for women groups; private investors do not have incentives to do environmental impact mitigation investments; market prices are characterized by a strong cyclical component (cycle of 4-5 years) which has an impact on creditworthiness of investors.

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Barclays Bank Zimbabwe to help young farmers


THE Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) is partnering Barclays Bank to create a revolving fund to assist young farmers in the country’s rural areas to grow their agriculture businesses. Beneficiaries of the fund would be drawn from the 31 000 young farmers who are active in the ZFU’s young farmers clubs around the country, says ZFU information officer, Tinashe Kairiza.
Kairiza said the initiative also sought to support youth-oriented micro, small and medium enterprises to develop linkages with large enterprises.

Kairiza, however, would not disclose the amount of seed money to be made available for the assistance under the fund. “The initiative by Barclays Bank to partner ZFU in setting up this fund is commendable because it demonstrates the potential that young people possess in running viable agriculture enterprises if they are adequately supported,” he said.

It is our expectation that our young farmers will take advantage of this fund to grow their business enterprises as well as improve their capability on running their farming activities as viable business enterprises.” The fund, due to be officially launched on January 28, comes at a time when farmers have been failing to access affordable lines of credit from financial institutions.

Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, which had declined over the past decade mainly because of the limited funding available and poor rainfall patterns, is on the recovery path with output of crops such as maize and tobacco exceeding targets. Maize output in the 2013/14 season reached 1,46 million tonnes from the original target of 1,3 million tonnes while tobacco output surpassed the initial target of 171 million kilogrammes to reach 215,2 million kg.

Agriculture has been identified as one of the sectors which can anchor Zimbabwe’s economic recovery and growth under the five year economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation. — New Ziana

Aricle first appeared in the Financial Gazette.

Skills Training and Innovative Financing for Young Rural Agribusiness Entrepreneurs in Africa

These are interesting thoughts on the intersection of entrepreneurship and agriculture!


Entrepreneurship has become a catch-phrase. It needs lot more focus, an effectively steered supportive framework and lots of financial investments especially in sub-saharan Africa. Entrepreneurial challenges are well known, but governments and their development partners’ commitment and pragmatic will to address the teething issues has always been very limited. The need for SME and entrepreneurship development is especially relevant in Africa, where young and expanding populations require the creation of jobs. Fostering entrepreneurship development especially in the agri-food sector will be key to the economic and social progress and in addressing the bulging youth unemployment challenges in the sub-region.

There is the urgent need for proactively supporting young people in the West African sub-region to identify business opportunities across the agricultural value chain and also re-focusing the mindset of governments, individual and institutional investors to be innovative in their approach to providing financing for young agricultural entrepreneurs.
The bulging African youth population…

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Nigeria: Apply to the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes), Lagos

Great opportunity to getting going in Ag!

Kalu Samuel's Blog

The Lagos State Government in continuation of the 10 Point Agenda to create wealth, ensure food security and alleviate poverty through entrepreneurial training in modern agriculture is seeking applications from suitably qualified candidates for
placement in the third phase of the six months intensive training course, the Agriculture Youth Empowerment Scheme (Agric Yes).

The Agric-Yes programme is a 3 phased programme which includes a six month intensive hands-on practical based training in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping.
Other highlights of the programme are a six month exposure to agriculture best practices in aquaculture, poultry, vegetable farming and bee keeping in a commercial farm as well as a permanent settlement in Farm estates in various locations in the State.

Requirements for admission into the six months programme include:
* a passion for agriculture
* possession of a recognized
degree and diplomas from universities and polytechnics
* minimum of senior…

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Maybe a different approach of climate change conferences would help

This is an interesting perspective. Amazing just how many claim to be making an impact with these organisations yet little filters down to the place were impact is needed most.

The Food Futurist

The climate conference COP20 has ended in Lima. As usual, there was lots of hype and fear mongering beforehand. Then, after lots of false hope press releases and fun hobnobbing, the conclusion was exactly the same as usual and as expected: a few vague statements meaning about nothing and no agreement except the one to meet next year in Paris, because having to cancel two weeks in the City of Light… oh la la quel malheur!

As COP20 indicates, that was the 20th time that such a conference was organized, and that was the 20th time that the outcome and conclusion were so predictable. One can wonder why it is so difficult to make significant progress. Is there really a problem? If so, why is this charade going on and what do the world leaders waiting for. Well, maybe it is just because they have no vision for an alternative…

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Nigeria targets youths in new initiatives

Great initiative to encourage young Nigerians to venture into Agriculture. We’re very happy to be venturing into this huge market this year!

IITA Youth Agripreneurs

20141216_102851 (Copy) President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (M), Vice-President Namadi Sambo (2nd from left), and the Minister of Agricultue and Rural Development of Nigeria, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (2nd from right) with the representatives of IITA Youth Agripreneurs: Bekee Barituka (far left) and Ohanwusi Evelyn (far right) at the exhibition booth during the YEAP launch

The Nigerian government has launched two initiatives to encourage young people to become more involved in agriculture, and stem the rising unemployment in the country.

The two initiatives which were inaugurated by President Goodluck Jonathan in December are Youth Employment in Agriculture Program (YEAP) and the Fund for Agricultural Finance in Nigeria (FAFIN).

The YEAP which is similar to the IITA Youth Agripreneur (IYA) model is designed to reposition the agricultural sector by involving, developing and raising 760,000 youths in agribusiness within the next five years.

FAFIN on the other hand is a financing vehicle targeting Nigeria’s…

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Thermal Agriculture New Year’s Message – 2015

As 2015 unfolds, the management and staff of Thermal Agriculture are filled with gratitude and inspired by the extraordinary community that you have helped us create through social media channels like facebook, twitter and this blog.

thermal agriculture logo

Through these platforms, we impacted on thousands of lives, and shared the knowledge and tools needed to tackle low productivity in Agriculture. This year we are expanding our focus to more crops and livestock and opening a new office in West Africa.

Our work is hard, but it’s also joyous and uplifting. And thanks to you, we are going further than we ever could have imagined – “Providing value to both farmers as well as the consumers is the platform we base our business on.”

Our vision has never been clearer, We add value in the agricultural supply chain by linking small scale farmers to better inputs, agricultural extension services, credit, logistics & markets.

Thanks for taking this journey with us.

Happy holidays and warmest wishes,