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Gwayi-Shangani pipeline excites villagers

by Staff reporter
14 Aug 2022 at 07:20hrs | Views
THE Gwayi-Shangani pipeline is set to transform the lives of thousands of people in six districts in the Matabeleland North Province as well as benefit Bulawayo and Matabeleland South immensely as the giant project is going to create a greenbelt of irrigable land.

A tour of the project by Sunday News last week was met with excited villagers who could not hide their joy at the prospects of a transformed life from water scarcity to abundance, which also comes with a number of socio-economic benefits.

The villagers noted that the irrigation schemes that will be constructed along the pipeline are going to change their fortunes and add to their provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Village head for Village Two, Ward 15 in Umguza district, Mr Mkhulunyelwa Sibanda said their main plea was for the Government to work in earnest towards the completion of the project, noting that their crisis in the district for the past seven years was water shortages.

"As it stands, we are relying on water from the Zanu-PF national secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu's homestead which is about five kilometres away, he realised our plight and offered water from his borehole because we have gone for seven years without water supplies.

"The boreholes which we had have since dried up and those that had water caved in, we are stranded therefore when the Government completes this project, we feel it will go a long way in uplifting our livelihoods," said the village head.

Another villager, Mrs Angelina Ngwenya noted that they were paying up to 10 rand for a bucket of water from those that have boreholes.

"Our wish has always been to have an irrigation scheme like what is being planned in Nyamandlovu and Sawmills as part of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline, so as to be able to partake in such life building projects. The situation at the moment is so dire such that we have to pay up to US$10 a load or 10 rand a bucket for water supplies which we feel is heavy and will be a thing of the past once this major project is completed," said Mrs Ngwenya.

She said the irrigation scheme will also ensure that they have a constant supply of fresh garden produce, something they could not afford to do now. According to the scope of the project, there will be irrigation schemes in Binga (two), Lupane, Kama, Hwange, Ngamo, Teakland, Sawmills and Nyamandlovu.

The project is also meant to end perennial water woes for Bulawayo, and also open opportunities in Matabeleland South as major dams in the province that supply Bulawayo will have a less burden, allowing for new irrigation projects.

The pipeline has since begun in earnest after the signing of a US$50 million contract with Flowtite South Africa to supply the glass fibre reinforced pipes needed for the pipeline recently. The Lake Gwayi-Shangani and the pipeline are a major Government priority.

In addition, there will be at least five take away points where water can be diverted to other towns and for irrigation to create a green belt along the way. In a statement last week, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development noted that the project will also see the freeing of water that is being drawn from the Matabeleland South region feeding into Bulawayo, hence the project will be benefitting three provinces.

"Planned in 1966, the irrigation component of the project started in earnest in 2021 (the same time the Gwayi-Shangani Bulawayo pipeline project started). By the end of the project, irrigation schemes will be developed along the pipeline route at Ngamo (Hwange), Sawmills (Umguza), Teakland (Tsholotsho), and Nyamandlovu (Umguza). Furthermore, communal irrigation schemes are being developed in Binga. (2 by 200-hectare blocks), Hwange (1 by 200 ha block), and Lupane (1 by 200 hectares block). All these communal schemes, benefitting all the five districts, shall be managed under the V30 Accelerator Model," reads the statement.

The V30 Accelerator Model is meant to "promote production, enhance productivity and profitability for communal irrigation schemes countrywide and implemented through Agricultural and Rural Development Authority in partnership with communal farmers (Arda)". Additionally, 16 service centres, including Cross Mabale and Dete will have potable water.

"Under the Second Republic, the concept of "the dam is not the project" will see commercial and communal fisheries activities, hydro- electricity, rural development with modern housing with running water and electricity for the 734 displaced households in about 37 villages and 12 wards, all being concurrently implemented," reads the statement.

Lake Gwayi-Shangani is expected to be finished this year, with the 245km pipeline from Lake Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo also earmarked for completion this year.

Source - The Sunday News
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