By PATRICIA SIBANDA
THE long-awaited Gwayi-Shangani Dam project, which is believed to be the panacea to Bulawayo’s water problems, has once again missed its 2021 completion target amid claims that lack of financial resources was hampering progress.
The ambitious project to pipe water from the mighty Zambezi River, which is 452 kilometres from Bulawayo, was mooted in 1912, but was abandoned by successive governments due to the high costs involved.
There have been successive budget allocations from Treasury towards the project, with timelines set for its conclusion, but the project remains in its initial stages of implementation.
Bulawayo City Council town clerk Christopher Dube on Monday said the completion deadline had been further extended beyond 2021 due to lack of funds.
“What is coming from the government and what we have said to ourselves when we visited the Gwayi-Shangani Dam initially was it will be complete by end of 2021, but because of issues of funding, the new commission date has been given and that is end of 2022,” he said.
“We are trying by all means necessary to give the government pressure because as a council we make reports every month and we have always maintained that our water situation is dire and we always have drought situations hence we need the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to be complete,” Dube said.
BCC engineer Simela Dube said council was proposing the utilisation of the heavily polluted Khami Dam as a short-term measure to ease the water crisis in the city.
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“There are discussions for us to utilise the Khami Dam because at the moment, the sewer systems at Umguza Dam are not working properly. Khami Dam is what is on discussions in terms of harvesting water that we see falling before it gets to Gwayi-Shangani Dam,” Dube said.
It is said that only 39% of the US$121 million needed to complete Gwayi-Shangani Dam has been received to date.