By Sibongumusa Dhlodhlo
A CALL has been made for the speedy completion of the Gwayi – Shangani dam that is set to transform lives in communities along the channel to Bulawayo.
The Gwayi – Shangani project has been in the pipeline since September 2004 with its completion seen as a long term solution to the water challenges in Matabeleland North province and Bulawayo.
While works at the site slowed down in 2019 owing to lack of funds, government through Treasury released 100 million Zimbabwe dollars that ensured resumption of operations.
Matabeleland North Agritex Officer, Mr Dumisani Nyoni says the completion of the dam will also assist farmers to use irrigation as an option in the face of drought while also opening up other opportunities for communities living along the pipeline.
“A dam of the magnitude of Gwayi – Shangani would mean that we have a lot of water that we could use for irrigation and livestock watering. The location of the dam is such that it is in an area that is formerly on one side conservancy land and on the other side communal land. It means it will offer opportunities for livestock watering and one believes there will also be a corridor for game watering,” said Nyoni.
The Minister of State for Matabeleland North province, Honourable Richard Moyo also revealed that surrounding communities are ready to derive maximum benefits from the water source.
“They are eagerly waiting for the completion of the dam with much understanding especially with the adverse effects of climate change being felt like this. There will be irrigation schemes along the pipeline, something that will help them to irrigate their crops when there are no rains. The residents just cannot wait for the completion of this dam. We promise them that this will happen soon because there is a lot of work taking place there and the government is putting all efforts to reach the completion of this project,” said the minister.
The Gwayi-Shangani Dam is one of the strategic development projects under the water and sanitation cluster and was allocated 400 million Zimbabwe dollars in the 2020 National Budget.
The project is a major component of the Zambezi Water Project, viewed as a long-term solution to Bulawayo’s perennial water problems.
Upon completion, it will be the third-largest inland dam in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Mutirikwi in Masvingo province.
By Sibongumusa Dhlodhlo