Ziminya Dam to  unlock Nkayi’s potential

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

THE construction of Ziminya Dam is progressing well in Nkayi District, Matabeleland North province, where scores of locals are already benefiting from job opportunities with the project expected to transform the drought-prone district into a vibrant economic hub through water-driven value chain gains.

Situated at about 20km west of Nkayi Business Centre, Ziminya Dam is one of the 12 high-impact dam projects being spearheaded by the Second Republic, and will use Shangani River as its catchment area.

Local communities have started feeling the positive impacts of the projects while more opportunities in tourism, fisheries and irrigation development are being unlocked.

Through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), the Government has contracted Fossil Engineering to construct the dam and the contractor is busy on the ground.

To date a cumulative 62 150 cubic meters of river sand have been hauled to site while blasting for the proposed head wall and ferrying of blasted rock are in progress. Survey of the dam site is now complete with the dam embankment soft foundation excavations nearly complete at 99 percent. 

Construction of site access roads is also in progress and stands at 75 percent completion with the construction of culverts on site roads now 80 percent complete, Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager, Mrs Marjorie Munyonga, said.

The clearing of dam foundations has since been completed together with the construction of the coffer dam with the site water supply system at 99 percent while grouting is 90 percent complete

“Other activities at the project include core trench soft excavations, which are 98 percent complete. Spillway soft and intermediate excavations are also underway together with the core trench hard excavations, which are almost complete,” said Mrs Munyonga. 

“Main embankment fill placing has also commenced.”

She said they have started clearing land for the establishment of the irrigation scheme and so far, 86ha have been cleared. As one of the high-impact water projects, Ziminya construction would transform local communities in a big way.

“Construction is on course with the project now 26,5 percent complete. The 98 million cubic metre dam is being constructed to address the domestic water needs for Nkayi centre and also has the capacity to irrigate a total of 1 250 hectares of land,” said Mrs Munyonga. 

“Ziminya Dam is one of the 12 high-impact dam projects the Government is undertaking through the Zinwa.”

The dam will be the second biggest in Matabeleland North after Lake Gwayi Shangani situated in Hwange District, said Mrs Munyonga, adding that successful implementation was part of Vision 2030 transformation targets.

Once complete, she said the project will come with a new, bigger and modern water treatment plant for Nkayi and a commercial irrigation scheme.

“This will ensure the immediate impact of the project in transforming livelihoods, especially in areas of food security, employment creation, water and sanitation,” said Mrs Munyonga.

Commenting, Nkayi District Development Coordinator, Mrs Matilda Mlotshwa, said the dam construction was already contributing to local economic growth as community members are employed at the dam site. Over 200 community members are providing manual labour. 

“Most of the unskilled workers are coming from the community. From pegging, engineers worked with the local community so a cross section of the community members is employed in the construction of the dam,” she said.

“Some home owners in Nkayi Business Centre, have also rented out their homes to the engineers and it brings money for them,” said Mrs Mlotshwa.

She said due to the employment of locals there is more money circulating within Nkayi, which is contributing to the growth of the area. Mrs Mlotshwa said through the planned irrigation, Nkayi will become food secure in the future.

“We are also expecting that the community will benefit from the irrigation that would be established here. We are looking forward to the establishment of an irrigation project similar to that of Bubi Lupane Irrigation Scheme,” she said. 

“This will improve yields, which will reduce donor dependence. At the moment, we were just letting water flow along Shangani River without means of harvesting it. Even at the township, we are having water challenges, so the construction of the dam will come handy to the community and livestock.”

Mrs Mlotshwa said plans to build a mini-hydro power station were underway, which will improve access to electricity for rural communities as part of inclusive development in line with Vision 2030.

Once completed, she said the dam is expected to drive tourism activities.

“We also expect that the project will boost tourism as we will have fisheries being done here. 

“So, in light of tourism prospects, we expect that Nkayi will have lodges, which will create employment for locals while contributing to the growth of Nkayi Business Centre. 

“This is going to be an economy that will be driven by availability of water,” said Mrs Mlotshwa.

The dam was pegged in 1952 but, just like other projects, there was no commitment to construct it until President Mnangagwa’s Government committed finances to push its rapid implementation. —@nqotshili


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