Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North province, one of the strategic development projects under the water and sanitation cluster, has been allocated $400 million in the 2020 National Budget, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said yesterday.
Prof Ncube said the budget, whose theme is “Gearing for Higher Productivity, Growth and Job Creation”, would prioritise development of sustainable water sources in the context of climate change, which has resulted in acute challenges in many communities.
“The strategic focus for the WaSH sector during 2020 is to restore basic water and sanitation services through maintenance, rehabilitation and upgrade of infrastructure, harnessing of water through construction of dams, weirs, borehole rehabilitation and drilling, and water and sanitation facilities in our urban areas,” he said as he delivered the Budget Statement in Parliament.
“Accordingly, the following projects have been prioritised in the 2020 budget: Gwayi Shangani Dam ZWL$400 million, Causeway Dam, ZWL$128 million, Chivhu Dam ZWL$192 million, Kunzwi dam ZWL$259 million, Semwa dam ZWL$216 million, other dams ZWL$205 million, water supply schemes ZWL$113 million and local authorities’ water and supply sanitation ZWL$311 million.”
The Gwayi-Shangani Dam is a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, viewed as a long-term solution to Bulawayo’s perennial water problems.
Bulawayo is facing critical water problems owing to a decline in water levels at the city’s supply dams, a development that resulted in the local authority imposing a 72-hour weekly water shedding exercise.
Recent reports indicate that the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is 40 percent complete and upon completion it will be the third largest inland dam in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo province.
China International Water and Electric Corporation is the contractor in partnership with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) for its construction.
However, funding constraints have stalled its completion.
At its completion, the dam will benefit communities through provision of water for consumption while creating an irrigation greenbelt between the Zambezi River and Bulawayo through a pipeline.
The pipeline will connect from the Zambezi River via the dam to Cowdray Park water works in Bulawayo with multiple outlets along the way where various projects will be carried out to create a greenbelt. — @nqotshili