BY GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA
Modern equipment at Chilonga irrigation scheme is lying idle after siltation diverted Runde River’s course, Zanu PF Chiredzi South legislator Kalisto Gwanetsa said.
Siltation pushed the river course to more than 300m away from where water used to be drawn, resulting in the irrigation equipment at the 200-hectare irrigation scheme becoming a white elephant.
Chilonga irrigation scheme was established in 1964, and is the oldest project in Matibi 2.
The scheme, with three submersible pumps that were donated by Sadc and installed by Evans Kaseke from the University of Zimbabwe, who is a civil engineering
expert, has not been productive for more than 10 years.
Gwanetsa and Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Ezra Chadzamira on Saturday toured Chilonga irrigation pump house on their way to Gwaseche School for a thank you rally.
“Although Plan International assisted the scheme with the fencing of 159 hectares, rehabilitation of in-service canals, overnight storage dam and electricity, the irrigation scheme so far has 200 hectares of irrigable land which is being underutilised because of lack of water. Continuous farming along the river banks led to tonnes of sand being swept into the river, which forced the perennial river to change its course.
“Our main problem right now is that the river has diverted to the northern bank and the pump is no longer able to draw water for irrigation. We are appealing to you to look for government engineers who can resuscitate the irrigation scheme for us by coming up with new methods of drawing water from the river,” Gwanetsa said.
“The culture of (engineers) sitting in offices doing nothing should be a thing of the past. I will make sure that whoever is responsible will be brought to book and explain why there are no engineers working on the project at the moment,” Chadzamira charged.