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MZWT vows to end Bulawayo water woes

by Staff reporter
20 Apr 2020 at 08:41hrs | Views
THE Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust (MZWT) has ramped up plans to complete the Zambezi Water Project to resolve Bulawayo's perennial water woes which have seen residents subjected to a 108hour water-rationing schedule.

The MZWT said it has embarked on a programme to raise US$1 billion for the project.

The prolonged water cuts are exposing residents to the dreaded COVID-19 as they have to jostle for water when it is delivered by council bowsers, ignoring social distancing recommendations.

The situation has worried residents, leading MZWT to take the lead.

A social media platform group Zambezi Water 4 Bulawayo has been formed to gather ideas on how to source funds for the mega project.

Pushed by the increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bulawayo – 10 out of the national 25 – and faced with water shortages MZWT said the completion of the project was a long-term solution MZWT chairperson Richard Ndlovu yesterday confirmed that they were indeed on a fundraising drive.

"As for funding, we are open to anybody who has the money with the zeal to bring water to the region. As to who that person is, it is everybody who identifies with the aspirations of the region and beyond. However, the funding model to be adopted will not undermine the country's sovereignty and will ensure that the country's national resources will be used sustainably to ensure that future generations benefit from this investment," he said.

Ndlovu said the project's timeframe was dependent on the money and sponsorship by business enterprises, the government and well-wishers.

"Without water there will be no economy to talk about. Under ideal conditions, assuming a completed Gwayi Shangani Dam, the Bulawayo phase can be completed within 48-60 months," he said.

"MZWT was the first organisation to do something concrete and tangible about the issue. Feasibility studies were commissioned which led to the actual start of the construction of the Gwayi Shangani Dam."

The project is in three phases. The first phase is the completion of Gwayi-Shangani Dam followed by the construction of a pipeline to Bulawayo and lastly a pipeline from the Zambezi River to the dam and setting up of pump stations.

The MZW project was birthed by a consensus of the people living in the semi-arid Matabeleland region.

It transversed and coalesced into one organisation which became known as Matabeleland Zambezi Water Trust. The idea of bringing water from the Zambezi River was mooted as far back as 1912 by the colonial regime, but remained on the drawing board as successive governments failed to get it off the ground.

MZWT commenced construction of the Gwayi Shangani Dam in 2004 and worked on it until 2009. This was later taken over by government during the government of national unity era and rechristened National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).

Both NMZWP and the MZW were chaired by the late Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa. The government is involved in the construction of the dam as a first step of this mammoth plan and gave the project national status.

On completion, Matabeleland region would become an economic development zone with the ability to contribute to the national gross domestic product by about up to 40% year-on-year.

In the 2020 budget, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube allocated $400 million for the dam, a figure which was said to fall short of the requirements.

Recent reports indicate that the Gwayi-Shangani Dam was 40% complete and upon completion it would be the third largest inland dam in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Mutirikwi, in Masvingo province.

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Source - newsday