By NQOBANI NDLOVU
CONSTRUCTION of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline will be undertaken by various local companies to speed up the long awaited project to pipe water 245 kilometers from Gwayi to Bulawayo and ensure it meets the scheduled December 2022 deadline.
This was revealed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday as he commissioned the Epping Forest borehole project in Nyamandlovu and also officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline to carry water to Bulawayo.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has completed the Epping Forest project which is expected to contribute about 10 megalitres to Bulawayo daily to ease the city’s water challenges.
The Gwayi-Shangani project, mooted in 1912, is scheduled to be completed in December 2022 with a number of companies contracted to undertake the ambitious project, Mnangagwa said in his address.
“The completion of these independent but interlinked projects will ultimately spur economic production, productivity and growth as well as permanently resolving the water challenges often experienced in the region,” he said.
The President was accompanied by his two deputies, Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi.
Also present were ministers Anxious Masuka (Agriculture Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement), July Moyo (Local Government) and Mthuli Ncube (Finance) and Owen Ncube (State Security), among others.
“In keeping with my administration’s results-oriented culture and pledge to modernise and develop national infrastructure through our own means, the project will be undertaken by various local contractors for the different sections of the pipeline.
“This will not only speed up completion of civil works but equally provide employment and empowerment for contractors and communities along the construction route,” Mnangagwa added.
The first phase of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project involves construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam which is 40% complete.
Ncube allocated $535 million for the construction of the pipeline to bring into life a project seen as a lasting solution to Bulawayo’s water challenges.
Bulawayo is enduring the worst water challenges in years since the 1992 drought, a year that birthed the Epping Forest project to drill boreholes in Nyamandlovu and pump water to the city.
The Gwayi-Shangani Dam project has also had its fair share of challenges, missing set deadlines owing to various reasons such as lack of material and financial resources or failure to pay contracted companies.