Concern over slow MZWP progress as Byo runs dry

Bulawayo residents have expressed concern over the slow progress in implementing the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), which has been touted as the answer to the region’s water crisis.


MZWP is an ambitious project to draw water from the Zambezi River to Bulawayo and parts of Matabeleland North Province to end the perennial water shortages bedevilling Zimbabwe’s second city.

This comes as Bulawayo City Council recently introduced a 36-hour water-rationing programme.

 The project was first mooted in 1912.

Residents told Southern Eye last week that the project has taken too long to impliment.

“We demand answers from (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa, how can we develop in the region when there is no water? This is one of the reasons why some of the youth were involved in looting because they are frustrated with failure to secure jobs. They are graduates, but are not working. Some of them are now 35 years old and they have no hope that they will ever be employed in their lifetime,’’ Smile Ndlovu said.

Residents believe that bringing water from the Zambezi River has the capacity to revive industry in the province.

Another resident said the government should honour its promises and implement devolution as a matter of urgency.

“People have spoken; it is there in the Constitution. They want  devolution like yesterday to push the country forward,  but this has fallen  on deaf ears,” he said.

However, Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust chief executive officer Sarah Ndhlovu said a third of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam has been completed so far.

“In terms of scale, the entire project is still in its initial stages as only 10% has been completed thus far. If the funds are obtained and no stoppages are experienced, it is anticipated that the project can be completed in three to five years,” she said.

“To complete the phase linking Bulawayo to the Zambezi River, including the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, an amount of $3 billion to $3,2 billion is needed. The current allocation by government is $23 million. To date, expenditure on the project is estimated at $20 million.”

 The role of the trust has been to gather funds for the project and to interface with various stakeholders. 

The trust, launched in 1993 as a Matabeleland action group – initially made up of legislators, ministers of both Matabeleland North and South and the mayor of Bulawayo has reactivated the debate of bringing water to the drought-prone  region.


  1. It looks like you are running out of news . The current water shedding has nothing to do with water shortage in the dams . This is due to faults on the pipeline and the purification system . Remember some two months ago BCC reported that they have three years water supply in the dams . The MZWP has nothing to do with the current water situation in Byo . You could have just come up with an article on the MZWP progress as a long term vision with out linking it to the current challenges . Please do not take Zimbabweans for grunted . Learn to appreciate that the current authorities have allocated money for the MZWP and have promised to give more . You are a newspaper for the whole world and so should learn to report objectively and not be influenced by the political views which at times are just political .

  2. The piecemeal allocation from government s always gobbled up by allowances and TnS for the trustees, its a fallacy to expect the current regime to see through the MZWP. Maybe the way to go is to privatise the supply of water.

  3. @Sinyo Imagine the price of water then! The way to go is for people to actually PAY for what they use and for PROPER maintenance/ replacement to take place

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