Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has blamed delays in construction of the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane Dam link water pipeline to poor planning by the previous government.
Khupe was speaking on Friday while inspecting the pipeline which is expected to ease water to the City of Bulawayo.
“The dam was constructed in 1994 but since then nothing has been done because of lack of planning,” said Khupe.
She said she was, however, pleased that there now appeared to be seriousness on the part of the Water Resources Development and Management ministry.
“What is happening now shows that if we put effort, things can happen,” she said.
Khupe said people in Bulawayo have for long endured water shortages when “there is abundant water in Mtshabezi”.
“Zimbabwe is endowed with a lot of resources but due to lack of planning, we have not been able to fully utilise those resources for the benefit of our people,” she said.
The DPM said the project, whose completion has been set for end of October, was a welcome relief to the people of Bulawayo.
“We do not have adequate water in Bulawayo,” she said. “I have also been personally affected by all this.” The Mtshabezi water project is expected to cost $19 million up to completion.
Construction of the pipeline is seen as a short-term measure to counter the city’s water woes.
The long-term measure is viewed as the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project — first mooted in 1912 — that would see a dam being built at the confluence of the Shangani and Gwayi rivers with a pipeline from the Zambezi River supplying the dam with water, which would then be channelled to Bulawayo.