Government will engage two more contractors on the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline project to ensure it is completed by March next year, a minister has said.
Water Resources Development and Management minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said: “The project is supposed to be completed by March next year. The allocation will be enough to get the job done.
“We are working very hard to have the project completed. We are also trying to bring in two more contractors to complement the one that is already on the ground.”
In the 2011 Budget he announced last week, Finance minister Tendai Biti allocated $22,1 million to be shared between the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline in Matabeleland South and the Wenimbi project in Marondera, Mashonaland East.
Nkomo said 500 pipes were being transported daily from Harare to complete the project, touted as the panacea to the Bulawayo water crisis.
Bulawayo City Council director of engineering services Simela Dube last week revealed that two of the city’s supply dams Inyankuni and Umzingwane would be decommissioned this month.
Bulawayo would draw its water from only two dams, Lower Ncema and Insiza, after Upper Ncema was decommissioned recently.
Dube said as at mid-November the supply dams had 136,8 million cubic metres of water against a consumption rate of 142 000 cubic metres per day.
“Umzingwane does not have water so they are right to decommission it. As for Inyankuni, I am praying that rains will come very hard so that it is not decommissioned,” said Nkomo.
Recently, Nkomo said the government would intervene in the augmentation of the Insiza pipeline to boost water supplies to the city.
Yesterday, he said the council had not approached the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to draw for them a design for the pipeline.
“No designs have been done. I had advised BCC to seek assistance from Zinwa in drawing the pipeline design but the local authority has not made the request to date. However, if the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane pipeline project is completed, there will be adequate water coming to Bulawayo,” said Nkomo.
The Mtshabezi-Umzingwane and the Insiza pipeline projects are regarded as the immediate solutions to the city’s water woes.
Mtshabezi Dam has been lying idle for more than 10 years.
The Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, first mooted in 1912, is considered the permanent solution to Bulawayo’s water problems but successive governments have deferred the project due to its huge costs.
A few years ago, work on the project kicked off but it has been stalled by lack of funding and dogged by controversy as politicians fight over control of the project.