WATCH: Victoria Falls US$4 million water project takes off
Leonard Ncube, [email protected]
VICTORIA Falls City Council yesterday officially launched a US$4 million water reservoir project in Mkhosana, which is the first phase of the grand US$18 million Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) project that is set to permanently end water problems in the tourism city.
The project was mooted several years ago and the local authority rehabilitated most of its infrastructure in 2012 in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation when it was realised that Wash infrastructure needed upgrading.
The rapid growth of the city in terms of number of properties and hotels put pressure on water supply, sewerage services, solid waste, roads and drainage.
It caused limited pumping of water, underperformance of water treatment plant due to ageing, water leakage, low pumping capacity, which resulted in erratic pumping and distribution.
The city pumps adequate water from the abstraction point at the Zambezi River, but the biggest challenge is the distribution of water due to lack of reservoirs. especially in high-lying areas like Mkhosana.
A Wash master plan was done in 2016 and recommended the need for storage facilities for Mkhosana and new properties as the city presently pumps directly to consumers.
ICP Integrated Construction was contracted two months ago to build a 5 megalitre ground reservoir, 0.75 megalitre elevated storage tank and associated works in Mkhosana suburb near Moringa shopping centre.
The project is funded partly through council funds from sale of stands 8300 south of Mkhosana and 1811 along Wood Road, including part of $120 million devolution funds received from Government last year.
Work has commenced and earthworks that include digging of the foundations for the reservoirs, clearing of roads and rehabilitation of connecting roads have been done. The project is expected to improve quality and supply of water thereby improving livelihoods for the city’s residents and visitors, in line with aspirations of the Second Republic implemented through National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) towards Vision 2030.
According to the city engineer Mrs Sherinah Sibanda, the scope of the project includes upgrading of Aerodrome pump station and pumping lines, construction of the new 5 mega litres ground tank and 0,75 mega litres elevated tank to allow for pumping by gravity, and strengthening of weak zones characterised by construction of 11km of new pipelines.
She said over 40 percent of properties in Mkhosana and other high lying areas are not getting water consistently. Mrs Sibanda said the completion of the project will result in over 98 percent of residents getting reliable water supply.
“This is the Victoria Falls US$18 million Wash project to be carried out in phases starting with the most urgent and depending on the availability of funds. Construction period is 12 months and the project will cost about US$4 million and it will benefit over 5 000 residential and commercial properties,” she said.
“The project will improve the standard of living of the residents through provision of reliable clean and safe water for longer periods and increased water pressure levels.”
Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo yesterday presided over the ground breaking ceremony which coincided with unveiling of some equipment that council has acquired including those donated by Zambezi Properties.
He said the development is a demonstration of several efforts by Government through the local authority to complement efforts to meet fundamental human rights to clean water.
Minister Moyo said the city continues to record more wins which spells a developmental trajectory anchored on the Second Republic’s commitment to attaining Vision 2030.
“What we are witnessing today will help eradicate water shortages in this part of the city and significantly improve service delivery. As Government believe these developments will help cultivate interest among investors who will help us rebuild our tourism industry,” he said.
“Through the development of this project, Victoria Falls which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and Unesco World Heritage site, is attesting to the fulfilment of substantial increased water use efficiency across all sectors through ensuring sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.”
The Wash project is also expected to ensure the city is free from waterborne diseases such as cholera, typhoid and diarrhea.
Minister Moyo said the project will go a long way in helping council achieve its water and service delivery mandate.
Acting Town Clerk Mr Neville Ndlovu thanked Government for supporting council and urged residents to pay their bills and rates.
“The groundbreaking is a testimony that Victoria Falls City Council is an active player and contributor to the improvement of livelihoods of citizens by ensuring availability and sustainable management of water through quality infrastructure as spelt out in various global and local strategies that include NDS1 and SDGs, and also by ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water through quality infrastructure,” he said.
Victoria Falls mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini said this is one of the many projects earmarked to improve service delivery in the city.
He said the water reservoir has been a long overdue project, which was in some cases a source of tension between council and residents. He implored investors to give back to the community through corporate social responsibility.
“The provision of quality service continues to inspire us in our day-to-day operations as council. All these developments echo national goals espoused in the NDS 1 and speak to our vision to be a smart competitive green city sustaining a well-developed community and offering safe tourist and investment destination of choice by 2030,” said Clr Dlamini.
“With more funds, greater strides would be achieved in the city.”
The project has also ignited excitement among residents as it is set to address the perennial water challenges in the city.
“We have for a long time been waiting for such a development. Now that there is something tangible happening after robust engagements between council and residents, it shows that we are going to be getting water consistently,” said Victoria Falls Combined Residents Association chairperson Mr Kelvin Moyo.