Dam construction delays jolt senators

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BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
SENATORS have called on government to provide adequate funding for the completion of outstanding dam construction projects to boost agricultural production.

Manicaland senator Dorothy Mabika said this while raising a motion on the provision of funds for completion of dam projects.

She said dams were an essential component of economic development.

Mabika said while government should be applauded for the momentum gained towards changing people’s economic status through the provision of opportunities in farming and increased access to potable water by encouraging construction of water bodies, she was concerned about  the slow pace in the completion of national dams which have the potential to greatly transform people’s livelihoods countrywide.

“Some incomplete dams may end up white elephants, thereby disadvantaging some communities in terms of economic empowerment,” she said.

Mabika urged government to provide adequate funds for the completion of all outstanding major dam projects countrywide, among them Mirror Dam in Chipinge and Kunzvi Dam in Murehwa.

“Zimbabwe boasts of being one of the highest dammed countries in Africa. Our food production capacity at national level is set to exceed that of any African country in the short to medium term, pending the completion of irrigation and other related agricultural programmes. Commercial agriculture is set to benefit from this,” she said.

Mabika pointed out that given the pace at which global food shortages are set to occur, there was need to empower communities through providing access to water.

“Every region in the country needs to be self-sufficient without entirely depending on other regions for food supply. Therefore, each and every pending project requires to be capitalised and the projects implemented as soon as the country is equally empowered in this regard.

“Further to that, water systems for several towns and cities were designed pre-independence, and the dams which were built back then now run short of current demand, Harare and Bulawayo being the largest cities are both in trouble regarding primary supply of fresh water reservoirs.

“It is understood that Kunzvi Dam will be able to take care of the requirements of Harare when complete. For several decades, there has been talk of the dam in the planning stages but is still not in place to this day. We believe that some action has begun to take place, but the important and most critical request is speed.” she pointed out, further indicating that Kunzvi Dam construction was moving too slowly in relation to the increasing rate of demand for the resource.

“For Bulawayo, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project with its pipeline is believed to be the starting point of the solution for water supply for the city and some irrigation projects along the way. Other projects in the line-up include Vungu Dam in Midlands, Ziminya Dam in Matebeleland North, Bindura Dam in Mashonaland Central, Dande Dam in Mashonaland Central, Chivhu Dam in Mashonaland East and Thuli-Manyange Dam in Matabeleland South,” she added.

Senator Tambudzani Mohadi also said there was need for more dams for livestock production.

“Pastures for livestock need water.  Water is a very important component in our country. We can hardly produce anything because we receive rainfall below average in Region Five. As a result, without supplementary water, it means we can hardly grow any crops. Apart from people needing water in the rural areas, you find that even in our towns, we need water,” Mohadi said.

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