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National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project: ABANDON IT!

05 Apr 2011 at 07:30hrs | Views
The Chief Information Officer has for some age been probing the problem of water in Bulawayo and the rest of Matabeleland and all the solutions that have been proffered by various stakeholders who want water. What the CIO has discovered is that a lot of people and organizations have spent a lot of time and resources having conferences, training sessions and all sorts of educative and consultative gatherings discussing about how to draw water from the mighty Zambezi River. 
In a no holds barred fashion – the CIO wants to say it here and now that all that has been done and continues to be done is a complete waste of time and resources and must stop before it gets uncontrollable and embarrassing like believing that oil can ooze out of a rock.
The gist of the CIO's argument in this issue is that the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project or whatever you choose to call it must be abandoned and in place of it, sane Zimbabweans and or sane people of Matabeleland that want must now focus on a feasible source of getting water and feasible formula thereof.
From early 1930s to date, successive governments have dismally failed to bring water from Zambezi River and many lies, scandals and claims have been marketed to the thirsty citizens by politicians in a bid to justify their glaring failures and the time to stop the pipe-nightmare, lies, fraud, politicking about this project has come.
The CIO has heard many people in Bulawayo and elsewhere complaining about the neglected and or abuse of the water question in Matabeleland and this has brought his office to query whether the problem is water or where the water has to come from.
Anyone, who in April of 2011 still believes that water will one day come from Zambezi River and that Government will cause its coming is in my sincere judgment a dangerous political operator majoring on a dangerous emotions arousing crusade and has no interests of the people of Matabeleland at heart. And does not know how water is important to this region.
One such person is Water Resources and Development Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo who just must now look-South to Manyuchi Dam, for a near source of water or leave that office as it is obvious that he has done, like others before him– nothing to end our water woes.
Sincere water activists like Arnold Payne will agree with the CIO that what is critical is water and not WHERE it from and that what is critical is focusing on feasible projects and not pipeline nightmares like NMZWP. In this regard the CIO has chosen to support the school of thought that believes that we need water and not necessarily water from some never-drying Zambezi River but from anywhere and at a lesser cost.
It is an undeniable truth that √¢‚Ǩ‚Äú nothing has been done to ensure that water related problems end in Matabeleland save for adding an "N" and hiring great historian Phathisa Nyathi as a consultant of a project that started in 1932. 
This then spurred CIO to conclude that we must abandon this whole project and focus on a new one that is, achievable.
The CIO strongly believes that the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project has been a great waste of time and resources and is bound to be a perpetual liability to the people of Matabeleland and Zimbabwe for as long as it takes halleluiah to finish. 
It is also not a lie that successive governments from 1932 today have failed to finish the NMZWP or whatever it is mainly because of many reasons ranging from lack of will, sincerity and financial capacity to the obvious fact that the whole project is a pipedream – that people must quickly wake up from before another innocent, serious and willing generation is polluted into believing that it can be.
Therefore the CIO suggests that those that are sincere, serious and willing to bring water to Matabeleland must now focus on drawing water from Manyuchi Dam which is the third largest dam in Zimbabwe after Lake Mutirikwe and Lake Chivero. The dam sits on the border of Mwenezi and ironically has forms three borders of Midlands, Gwanda North and Mberengwa.
Manyuchi Dam was built in 1986 by private people specifically to supply water to the major sugar plantations in Chiredzi. It was done on a build to operate scheme (BOT) over a period of between 15-25 years.
We all know that it is at least +400 kilometers from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls where the Zambezi River is and approximately 190 kilometers from Bulawayo to Manyuchi River. 
In this regard the distance of drawing water from Manyuchi Dam to Bulawayo will be 100 kilometers or less because Bulawayo is already drawing water from Insiza Dam and it is just +-100 kilometers Manyuchi to Insiza. Therefore it just does not make sense to waste time and many resources attempting to get water from 400 or so kilometers away when you can the same from +-100 kilometers.
What is needed in Matabeleland is water, and sincere people that need water and not unnecessary politicking about water will agree with me that there is absolutely no difference between the water from Manyuchi and that of Zambezi.
There is an argument that NMZWP or whatever is will created a green belt through agricultural projects that will run through Lupane, Nkayi, and Gokwe etc if completed. That is true and is but not an excuse of arguing that the people of Mberengwa, Filabusi, and Mbalabala etc do not need a green agricultural belt or water like the people of Hwange Nkayi and Lupane for example. 
The same idea of just erecting a pipeline holds true when Manyuchi Dam project becomes real.
When you draw water from Manyuchi to Bulawayo, you reduce the cost of bringing water to the thirsty residents by 90% because you need about 500 kilometers of a pipeline and other infrastructure from Zambezi River to Bulawayo, and you also have to build dams.
But to draw water from Manyuchi, all you need is a pipeline and a short one. The Government, since NMZWP is a "national" project, will on behalf of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) negotiates with the founders of Manyuchi Dam to purchase bulk water and the green belt. The local BCC , will then have to collect rates, as is does and remit to a local government treasury that will pay the government or directly to the funders or constructors of Munyuchi Dam.
Technically – it is possible that Munyuchi Dam is lower than Insiza Dam and it will be not easily for water to flow. But with modern pumping technology it is still too far too cheaper draw water from Manyuchi Dam than to attempt to get water from World Heritage site that is +400 kilometers away.
Governments from 1930s have never gotten enough funding to complete the Zambezi Water Project and there is no need for us to continue pursuing it. Minister Sipepa Nkomo has been terribly useless and must stop bothering Dr Dumiso Dabengwa about audit reports of a project that has failed for 100 years and focus of bringing water to us, full stop.
The CIO knows that some chap out there will want to know my office's position regarding the Gwai-Shangani Dam. It is simple. The Gwai-Shangani Dam can exist for other reasons but we all know today that there is a coal mine near it which is polluting water. 
Besides, the dam is +300 kilometers from Bulawayo and after its construction nothing has been done besides placing some few pipes along and next to it and research and more research by Minister Nkomo and other fellows that have handled the project.
For the benefit of people in Nkayi and other areas in the region, all we can then do is to build dams and that will be less costly that trying to get water from +400 kilometers. People need water and they do not care whether it's from Zambezi or Hurungwe. 
Then there is a group of people that believe that Matabeleland is all about Hwange, Lupane, Nkayi, Tsholotsho, Ngamo etc, and therefore drawing water from Munyuchi Dam will not benefit the "people" of Matabeleland, no! The fact is that this water project is not an "exclusive" Matabeleland project because according to the initial pipe dream, MZWP was also meant to benefit the people of Mashonaland West, Hurungwe and part of Midlands e.g. Gokwe.
In any event, provincial boundaries do not determine what Matabeleland is; they are just political lines, nothing else.
The CIO thus urges all the so called important, critical, willing and able relevant stakeholders who want to curb and or end the water woes in Matabeleland to group and discuss the Munyuchi Dam project and stop wasting government, private sector and donor monies on some project that has failed for more than 100 years to take off.

Source - Byo24News
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