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Race for December deadline at Gwayi-Shangani Dam

by Staff reporter
10 Jul 2021 at 10:55hrs | Views
WORK on the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Hwange district, Matabeleland North has gathered pace with the contractors optimistic that they will meet the December 2021 deadline.

The dam, with a holding capacity of 650 million cubic metres of water, is a significant milestone under the Second Republic in improving the livelihood of rural communities through the creation of an irrigation greenbelt for communities in Matabeleland North.

Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) which upon completion is expected to provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo and Matabeleland region. The dam's construction and completion have been made a top priority this year with Government allocating $4,5 billion towards the project.

The project has three phases – the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, the construction of a pipeline from the dam to Bulawayo and another pipeline which will draw water from the Zambezi River.

President Mnangagwa recently officiated at the ground-breaking ceremony for the pipeline in Nyamandlovu where he pledged that the project which is the solution to Bulawayo's water shortage and was first mooted in 1912, will be completed under his administration.

The project is being spearheaded by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) while China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) was contracted to do civil works.

The dam project highlights Government's investments in key and strategic water bodies around the country. Government under the Second Republic prioritises the completion of key water bodies with Treasury having set aside $10,7 billion for dam infrastructure in the 2021 National Budget.

It is envisaged that construction of new water bodies will help support the switch from rain-fed agriculture and help food-insecure communities through provision of water for both irrigation and fisheries.

The country is largely an agriculture-based economy, with most of its industrial output back-linking to the sector. Minister of State for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring, Implementation of Government Programmes Dr Joram Gumbo on Thursday toured the Gwayi-Shangani Dam site to assess progress under the umbrella of the 100-day cycle programme. Dr Gumbo is tasked with tracking progress in the implementation of projects that contribute to the improvement of the livelihoods of the general populace in line with Vision 2030. He said there is tremendous progress with the contractor set to meet the deadline.

"There is lot of progress at Gwayi-Shangani Dam site. We want this project to be completed by December and consistent funding from Treasury should be a priority. We will bring the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to appreciate the urgency of funding this project," said Minister Gumbo.

"We believe that by December 2021 we will deliver this project if the funds are released timeously. The contractors are equally confident of meeting the end of year target with 41 percent of construction work covered so far."

Dr Gumbo said Government is prioritising the completion of key water bodies given their significance in the overall performance of the economy.

"Government is prioritising the completion of key water bodies because of their contribution to the overall performance of the economy. In this regard, the 2021 national budget has set aside an estimated $10,7 billion for dam infrastructure," he said.

"I also wish to make the point that since 2019, the Second Republic has committed considerable resources towards the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, with Treasury allocating $4,5 billion for the project in the 2021 budget."

Under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), Government is accelerating construction of dams with the inspection programme for all major dams in the country to assess risks to public safety, extent of water losses and siltation being strengthened. Upon completion, Gwayi-Shangani Dam is set to the third largest interior water body in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said the completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam will bring a new lease of life for local economy.

Source - chronicle

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