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Laying of pipes brings Gwayi-Shangani water closer

by Staff reporter
03 May 2022 at 15:38hrs | Views
AN over a century old dream to bring water from Lake Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo is close to reality as some pipes for laying the pipeline that arrived in the country last week have been placed at strategic points with the dam construction now expected to be completed at the end of June.

A Chronicle news crew yesterday visited Cowdray Park in Bulawayo where some of the pipes have been placed in readiness of the laying of the pipeline bringing water from the  lake to the city.

Government has said the laying of the 245km pipeline is expected to be completed by October as 11 contracted companies are already on the ground.

The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) two months ago signed a US$50 million contract with Flowtite South Africa to supply the glass fibre reinforced pipes needed for the pipeline.

The delivery of the pipes started last Thursday with 80 more trucks expected to bring the remaining pipes from the South Africa.

The construction of the Lake Gwayi Shangani and laying of the 245km pipeline is expected to end Bulawayo's perennial water woes.

The project is also expected to result in a greenbelt that will result in Matabeleland region being food sufficient as irrigation schemes will be established in various strategic points along the pipeline route.

Already, Government has identified irrigable land covering 10 000 hectares along the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline.

The Lake Gwayi-Shangani construction is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, an idea which was conceived more than a century ago with President Mnangagwa's Government making it a reality.

In an interview, Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said the Lake Gwayi Shangani wall was 68 percent complete and is expected to meet the June deadline.

Dr Masuka last Thursday conducted an assessment tour of Lake Gwayi Shangani construction as well the pipeline route up to Luveve and expressed confidence that set deadlines will be met.

"Why we went to Gwayi-Shangani, it is part of the monthly visit that we do to ensure that the President's target that the Lake is completed by the 30th of June is done. What we saw is that when the President visited on March 18 the progress was at 60 percent and as of yesterday, we were at 68 percent which is impressive," said Dr Masuka.

"We are now able to lay double the amount of concrete we used to do so we are on course in ensuring that the Lake Gwayi Shangani is complete by 30 June substantially so."

He said while construction at the lake is expected to be completed mid-year this year, the laying of the pipeline should be completed five months later.

"We also had an opportunity (to assess the laying works on the pipeline), we have given 11 companies contracts to ensure that the pipeline is completed by October 31. We moved the whole way from Gwayi Shangani to Luveve-Cowdray Park and we saw that all the companies were there, excavating," he said.

"We also wanted to ascertain the pipes and rate at which they are coming will be commensurate with pace which we want to see to complete this project by 31 October and indeed we received the first truck of pipes.

There will be 80 trucks coming in everyday to make sure that we are on course. Indeed Bulawayo, the nation and everyone else should expect that before Christmas we will commission the project."

Dr Masuka said the project will be transformative to Matabeleland region and already locals were being employed in the project.

"We have 500 employed on the dam itself; the companies are yet to evaluate the numbers that will be employed in the five districts that the pipeline will pass through. But this will have a very substantial impact and this is rural development and this is the essence of Vision 2030," said Dr Masuka.

Bulawayo Provincial and Devolution Affairs Permanent Secretary Mr Paul Nyoni said addressing water problems in Bulawayo will boost investor confidence.

"One of the functions of the project is to address water problems in Bulawayo. The pipeline is the conduit for that water to get to Bulawayo and this is one thing we are waiting for. You are unlikely to see an investment when there are issues to do with water and energy. If we address the water situation, we are assuring the investors of that resource that is critical," said Mr Nyoni.

"You may know that we are very large in agro-processing and that is a water intensive process. Companies such as Arenel had to drill boreholes and place JoJo tanks and it's the same as the United Refineries, the media has reported that once in a while they had to bring bowsers.

So, if current investors are struggling you are unlikely to attract new investors and investing investors may not likely to expand their plants."

Source - the chroncile
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