Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction resumes
Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
CONSTRUCTION work at the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North Province resumed on Monday following the release of $5 million towards the project by Treasury.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga yesterday said the contractor was back on site while Zinwa had also deployed its personnel to oversee the resumption of the project.
“China Water and Electric Corporation, the Gwayi-Shangani contractor is back on site and already crushing stones for concrete works. The contractor is also expected to soon clear rubble from the river bed as well as rehabilitate access roads to the project site among other works.
“Zinwa has also moved in the requisite personnel to oversee the resumption of work at the project,” said Mrs Munyonga in a statement.
She said more resources would be availed as the project moves on adding that its completion will bring socio-economic transformation to the surrounding communities.
“On completion, the dam, which is on the confluence of Gwayi and Shangani Rivers, is expected to bring about a lot of socio-economic transformation for surrounding communities and other parts of the drought prone Matabeleland North Province through the supply of irrigation water.
“The dam will also have the capacity to generate six mega-watts of electricity. The resumption of work at the dam and its subsequent completion are among the key benchmarks Government set for the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset),” Mrs Munyonga said.
Last month, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Government had secured $37 million to clear arrears owed to the contractor and lay the ground for the beginning of the long-awaited project.
He said Government had set aside $17 million owed to the contractor and $20 million to resume the project adding that the completion of the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo paved way for the prioritisation of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which is a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).
The resumption of work at the dam site follows the suspension of work by the contractor in 2013 due to lack of funding.
Gwayi-Shangani, which will be Zimbabwe’s third largest water reservoir after Tokwe-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, is a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project which is considered the long term solution for Matabeleland’s water challenges.
The National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project consists of the dam and a pipeline to Bulawayo with an envisaged green belt being established on either side of the pipeline.
With a holding capacity of 635 million cubic metres of water, Gwayi- Shangani dam will be the largest water body in Matabeleland North Province.