BY SILAS NKALA
GOVERNMENT has released $535 million for the completion of Gwayi-Shangani Dam, part of the Zambezi Water Project, which is expected to alleviate water problems in Bulawayo and Matabeleland North provinces.
The dam is now set to be completed by year-end, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), a government arm responsible for water bodies in the country, has said.
Zinwa was responding to recent petitions by Bulawayo residents, who were demanding urgent completion of the project.
Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga said the authority was constructing the Gwayi-Shangani Dam as part of a broader and comprehensive response to the water challenges faced by the City of Bulawayo over the years.
“The dam is currently 40% complete and among government’s top priority projects for the 2021 fiscal year,” Munyonga said.
“Out of the $10 673 600 000 allocated for ongoing and new dam projects across the country in the 2021 budget, Gwayi-Shangani Dam was allocated $4 532 000 000.”
She added: “Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam remains ongoing and with the resources allocated to the project in the current budget, the dam is expected to impound its first water at the end of 2021.
“The dam remains a top priority national project and government has since released $535 000 000 for the commencement of the Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo pipeline, a development that demonstrates the present commitment to complete not only Gwayi-Shangani Dam, but also the water conveyance infrastructure for the delivery of water from the dam to Bulawayo.”
She said Zinwa was pumping a daily average of 10 megalitres of water to Bulawayo from Epping Forest following the emergency works that were carried out last year.
Munyonga said Zinwa was working round-the-clock to solve the water challenges in Bulawayo and had constructed the Mtshabezi pipeline to draw water from Mtshabezi Dam.
“The pipeline and Mtshabezi Dam are part of the critical pieces of infrastructure that kept Bulawayo running in the past year.
“In addition, in the same year, Zinwa carried out rehabilitation works at Epping Forest and Nyamandlovu (Rochester) which became a very necessary intervention in the wake of last year’s water crisis in Bulawayo,” she said.
“These projects and the ongoing Gwayi-Shangani Dam and pipeline projects, not only demonstrate the capacity and plans by Zinwa to resolve the water challenges in Bulawayo, but also demonstrate the presence of the commitment and will to have lasting solutions to Bulawayo’s water problems.”
Munyonga said the Bulawayo water challenges required stakeholder approach to address it.
Bulawayo has, since last year, faced the worst water crisis with some households going for six months to a year without tap water.
The situation got worse after the decomissioning of three supply dams.
The dams are now back on stream following heavy rains early this year.