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Government ramps up efforts to complete Lake Gwayi-Shangani by year-end

by Staff reporter
21 Apr 2022 at 11:33hrs | Views
CONTRACTORS have started opening access roads and doing pipeline servitude clearance for the laying of the 245km pipeline from Lake Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo as Government steps up efforts to ensure that water is pumped to the city by year-end.

In January, Government increased the number of contractors from six to 11 to speed up completion of the massive project as the Second Republic walks the talk in the implementation of outstanding projects.

Each of the 11 contractors has 21km to do, with the civil works having created employment for locals.

Construction of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani is among Government's major priorities and is expected to be completed this year after missing last year's deadline.

Government took over the project in 2012 and the Second Republic has committed considerable resources to it and others in line with aspirations of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) towards Vision 2030.

Government's implementing arm, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is working with China International Water and Electric Corp's engineers to construct the dam with a holding capacity of 650 million cubic metres.

This is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) to bring water from Zambezi River to Bulawayo to permanently address the city's water challenges.

Lake Gwayi-Shangani and the pipeline project are major components of the NMZWP, which was first mooted in 1912, but had failed to take off under previous successive administrations.

It is only after the coming in of the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa that the project has received significant fiscal support and political will that has seen it taking off at an accelerated pace.

A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited a section in Cowdray Park from where the pipeline that feeds water into Bulawayo will be laid and observed that one of the contracted companies, Great Dyke Earthmoving, has started opening access roads as well as pipeline servitude clearance.

Addressing the nation on Independence Day at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo on Monday, President Mnangagwa said the long-awaited Lake Gwayi-Shangani, which was first conceptualised 100 years ago, will be completed during the course of the year.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressing on Independence Day at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo

The dam will conclusively resolve the perennial water challenges of the City of Bulawayo as well as result in a vibrant agriculture sector in Matabeleland North to meet the needs of the province and vault export-led productivity, leveraging on Victoria Falls and Hwange airports.

Last month, the President toured Lake Gwayi-Shangani site and expressed satisfaction on progress made in the construction of the giant water project.

After the tour, he expressed confidence that by December, Bulawayo will be drawing water from Lake Gwayi-Shangani in line with set deadlines.

The dam wall on the riverbed is now 19.35 metres high, while overall progress is over 61 percent.

Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said current activities going on under the Lake Gwayi-Shangani project include the placement of concrete on the dam wall with crews on site working around the clock.

"Construction of Lake Gwayi-Shangani is progressing quite well with work on the dam wall and outlets underway. The dam is now 60 percent complete. Current activities include the placement of concrete on the dam wall with crews on site working around the clock," she said.

Mrs Munyonga said out of the 11 contractors working on the pipeline, eight are already on site. She said the remaining ones will soon be moving onto their respective sites.

"So far, eight contractors have moved to site and they are already working on the opening of access roads as well as pipeline servitude clearance and doing excavations in various sections where the pipeline from Lake Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo will be laid. The target is to have the pipeline and dam complete by year end, with the first water from Gwayi-Shangani reaching Bulawayo by the end of 2022," she said.

The 11 contractors are Mamoford Engineers, Masimba Holdings Limited, Fossil Contracting, Conduit Investments, ESOR Construction, Grindale Engineering, Redan-Orca-Sesani, Great Dyke Earthmoving, Mark Bokano JV, Karna Consortium, Technoexpert and Latmak Supply Chain.

Government will create an irrigation greenbelt along the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline, which will trigger rural industrialisation.

The irrigation schemes will be community owned and managed by the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda).

The first beneficiaries of the irrigation schemes are those that will be relocated due to the expansive work of the project. There will be displacement of between 400 and 700 families.

There will be land for irrigation in excess of 10 000 hectares with at least 200ha for each pumping station, which will be co-managed by Arda for the benefit of the community leading to rural development for facilitation of the attainment of Vision 2030.

Fisheries projects will also be started along the pipeline to benefit communities. In line with the dam construction plan, a 10MW of hydro-electric power station will be built on the dam site with schools and communities around benefitting.

The dam wall will be 72 metres high.

Lake Gwayi-Shangani will be the third biggest inland water body in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo.

Source - the herald