Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
ENGINEERS working on the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North have adopted a new construction technology to speed up work on the project they say will be completed by December next year subject to availability of funds.
The technology, Roller Compacted Concrete (RCC) reduces construction time by allowing the pouring of multiple concrete layers in a short space of time.
Briefing a Government delegation led by Deputy Director in the Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister’s office, Mr Tapera Mugoriya who was representing the Provincial Minister Richard Moyo during a media tour of the project on Tuesday, Engineer Lucio Chayeruka from the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) said RCC technology reduces construction time.
He said construction work is now at 39 percent and will be completed before December next year subject to availability of funding. About US$66 million has been disbursed so far for the US$121 million project. Government allocated $400 million to the project in the 2020 National Budget.
China International Water and Electric Corporation is the contractor working in partnership with Zinwa on the project that was mooted in 1912.
“The project is now 39 percent overall in terms of the whole site but in terms of the concrete we have covered 11 percent, meaning we have poured about 30 000 cubic metres of concrete out of 270 000 cubic metres.
“We are using the first technology of its kind in Zimbabwe called the Roller Compacted Concrete which is different from other conventional concrete making as it allows fast compaction. This technology means the two metres height by 20 metres long wall takes three days to be ready for us to place another layer on top whereas under normal circumstances, the concrete will be ready after 21 days. This is the main reason why we are hopeful that we will meet the December 2021 deadline to complete the dam provided funding is availed,” said Eng Chayeruka.
He said significant progress was made at the site since adoption of the new technology last year. The dam wall is now eight metres high from the foundation level stretching for 200 metres across the Gwayi and Shangani rivers’ confluence.
When complete, the wall will be 72 metres high.
The current wall was made in three segments separated by blocks of open space for water to pass through and prevent flooding during the construction period.
All foundation and footing has been done and focus is now on the actual dam wall construction.
Eng Chayeruka said they were targeting to reach between 20 and 30 metres dam wall height by the end of this year.
“We have suspended work until April because of the rains as construction can’t be done when it’s raining. However, we didn’t totally stop, we are doing minor ancillary work like casting pillars and crushing quarry as we wait for the rain season to end,” said Eng Chayeruka. Speaking during the tour, Mr Mugoriya said Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be of immense benefit to Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces.
“This project will surely benefit the province and also is in line with President Mnangagwa’s thrust to bring sustainable development as it will see several irrigation projects being established along the pipeline,” he said.
The dam is one of the strategic development projects under the water and sanitation cluster and will be the third largest inland dam in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo province.
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 the greenbelt. — @ncubeleon