BY SILAS NKALA
NKAYI residents based in the diaspora have mobilised R22 000 to construct Mbizi Dam to ease the water crisis in Nkuba village.
This comes as the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is set to begin the construction of Ziminya Dam in Nkayi to ease water problems and also establish a 1 200-hectare irrigation project, which will sustain the local community and contribute to the region’s food security.
However, locals view the Zinwa project as a political gimmick.
Indications are that the water authority has since moved on site to actualise the Ziminya Dam construction in Nkayi district, which will be utilised by the 1 200ha irrigation project that will be set up concurrently with it.
Zinwa spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga yesterday said Ziminya Dam was one of the new dam projects that were set to commence as part of the ongoing efforts to improve water security in the country.
“The project was allocated $250 million in the 2021 national budget. The Ziminya project entails the construction of Ziminya Dam, Nkayi Water Supply and the establishment of an irrigation scheme. It is not rehabilitation work but the commencement of a totally new project,” she said
“Construction work has not begun as tender processes for the project are still underway. Consequently, the cost of the project can only be established after the awarding of the tender.”
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Munyonga said the dam had a capacity of 98 million cubic metres, adding that the evaluation of the tender bids was underway.
“Ziminya Dam and the Nkayi Water Supply will benefit the whole of Nkayi and also open the path for the expansion of the growth point. The dam is expected to help improve food security in Nkayi as it is capable of irrigating 1 250 hectares of land in the area,” she said.
Details reveal that the dam would be 2,7 metres long, 36 metres high with a water carrying capacity of 98 million cubic metres and a spillway length of 200 metres.
Bids for the project have been submitted, with 21 contractors having conducted a site visit on June 18, 2021, where they made an assessment of the scope of works before submitting their bids.
But during a discussion by Nkayi Community Parliament on Sunday, local businessman Arthur Moyo questioned why such projects were announced towards elections.
“I want to refer to the much-talked about Ziminya Dam, whose mention frequently surfaces during electioneering. This dam was pegged around 1959. I have been to the site. Just this year, there was a hive of activity by water engineers who indicated some form of findings. What they were doing were soil tests, but we are not aware of what they are testing,” he queried.
In Nkayi, Mbizi Dam project co-ordinator Nkululeko Mpofu, who is based in South Africa, yesterday told Southern Eye that they decided to mobilise resources for the construction of the dam after noting the persistent water problems in the area.
He said villagers had approached the Nkayi Rural District Council for a grader to scoop silt from Nkuba Dam, and were told to provide 800 litres of diesel for the grader, adding that R22 000 had since been raised for the project mainly bankrolled by diasporans in South Africa and Australia.
“The old Nkuba Dam is completely silted and does not hold any water. With the assistance of an engineer from council, they suggested a new dam wall site downstream that will be able to hold water. We used the R22 000 to purchase 60 bags of cement and reinforcement steel rods to begin the dam wall construction. However, monthly contributions were affected after our members lost their incomes due to COVID-19,” he said, adding that cattle were going as far at Tshangane River in search of water.
Ward 18 councillor Njabulo Ndlovu (Zanu PF) confirmed the project yesterday, adding that the dam would assist ward 18 villages such as Msongelwa, Mfunda Jajela and Kwaya-Bandama, as well as two other villages near Kwekwe.
“The community volunteers to work on the project, including builders,” he said, while appealing for more donations from well-wishers.
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