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Lake Gwayi-Shangani to supply water to Bulawayo for 80 years

by Staff reporter
07 Jul 2022 at 08:01hrs | Views
Completion of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani project will ensure reliable water supply to Bulawayo for the next 80 years, while weaning off some of its supply dams in Matabeleland South to cater for developmental projects in the province, a Cabinet Minister has said.

The massive water project is expected to ignite rural industrialisation across the Matabeleland region where communities will have access to clean water and electricity to power local institutions.

Guided by the National Development Strategy (NDS1), the Government aims to increase the proportion of people with access to potable water to 90 percent from 78 percent, by 2025.

Facilitating higher quality water and sanitation services is a top priority as the country moves towards attaining an upper-middle income status by 2030.

The New Dispensation led by President Mnangagwa has made it clear that no one should struggle to access potable water, which is a basic human right.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, who recently visited Matabeleland South province to oversee the handover of water management systems to Gwanda and Beitbridge municipalities from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), said the completion of Lake Gwayi-Shangani would result in the decommissioning of Mtshabezi Dam.

"Water is a constitutional right. It must be potable, it must be affordable, it must be available.

One of the biggest developments to impact Gwanda and Matabeleland South province as a whole is Lake Gwayi-Shangani," he said.

"We're conveyancing water from Lake Gwayi-Shangani 252km to Bulawayo and by the end of this year into the first quarter of 2023, we'll be opening the taps at Cowdray Park to be able to supply Bulawayo for the next 80 years with water from Lake Gwayi-Shangani," said the minister.

He said the Gwayi-Shangani water project had been on the pipeline since 1912 but it took the able and visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa to bring it into life.

"It's only through our foresighted President who has put this into operation.

So many trusts were formed in Matabeleland but they didn't do much until the advent of the Second Republic," said Dr Masuka.

"This delivery of water to Bulawayo, which will be a massive 200 mega litres a day, means that we can begin to decommission Mtshabezi to be able to supply Matabeleland South and irrigation development under the Vision 2030 accelerator model.

"Once we do so, it means we can assure Gwanda of additional water so that all expansion plans must be accelerated because water will not be an inhibiting factor," said Dr Masuka.

The Government, working with various partners, is rehabilitating irrigation schemes that have been lying idle in Matabeleland South and establishing new ones to improve food and nutrition security and ensure the attainment of Vision 2030.

To that end, the Government is targeting to rehabilitate and develop 350 000 hectares of land by 2025 to safeguard the country against the negative effects of climate change and ensure food security.

A number of irrigation schemes that have been lying idle in the province have been revived while some that were being underutilised have been capacitated and expanded.

Chinese engineers, China Water and Electric Corp, won the tender to construct the Lake-Gwayi Shangani and Zinwa is in charge of the project.

The construction of the massive water body will transform the Matabeleland region as irrigation projects will be established along the pipeline thereby turning the region into a green belt.

Lake Gwayi-Shangani is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, an idea which was conceived more than a century ago and has only been turned into reality by the New Dispensation.

Source - The Chronicle