Sunday Mail Correspondent
The GOVERNMENT has poured in over $10 billion into the development of 10 major dam projects across the country this year — three of which will be commissioned before year-end — in a programme aimed at boosting the country’s water harvesting capacity.
Authorities have allocated funding towards the development of new projects that include Kunzwi, Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo pipeline, Vungu and Ziminya dams, which is scheduled to commence this year.
Ongoing dam projects such as Gwayi-Shangani, Semwa, Bindura, Silverstroom, Causeway and Chivhu Dams have also received fresh funding.
The Government is mobilising domestic resources to fund major infrastructural projects, including the construction of dams in an effort to climate-proof agriculture and harness water for industrial and domestic use.
Responding to questions from The Sunday Mail, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said most of the construction projects will commence at the end of the rainy season when river flows recede.
“Government has allocated over $10 billion towards the construction of dams across the country in 2021,” said Mrs Munyonga.
“The funds are meant for the completion of some dam projects which are currently underway and the commencement of new dam projects.
“New projects allocated funds in the 2021 fiscal year include Kunzwi Dam, Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo pipeline, Vungu Dam and Ziminya Dam.
“In preparation for the construction of Kunzwi Dam, Government, through ZINWA has already invited interested contractors to bid for the construction tender.
“Ongoing dam projects that got funding are Gwayi-Shangani Dam, Semwa Dam, Bindura Dam, Silverstroom Dam, Causeway Dam and Chivhu Dam.”
Causeway Dam, which is located on the Macheke River, which forms the boundary between Mashonaland East and Manicaland provinces, is now complete and already holding water, she said.
As at February 26, 2021, Causeway Dam was already holding 64,7 percent of its 75 million cubic-metre capacity.
“Gwayi-Shangani Dam is earmarked for completion at the end of 2021 and is 39 percent full.
“The same applies to Chivhu Dam which is also 38 percent full.
“Semwa Dam is now 39,9 percent complete, Silvestroom 9 percent, Tuli-Manyane 5 percent and Bindura 38 percent.
“However, due to the current rains, not much work is going on at the projects, with full scale construction expected to commence at the end of the rainy season when river flows recede.”
Only works that are not affected by river flows, she said, are ongoing at the dams, including crushing of concrete aggregates.
Speaking in Parliament last week, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka said three major dams will be commissioned this year.
“At a broader national level, Government has accelerated dam construction projects and not just in view of drinking water but also agricultural and industrial water,” said Dr Masuka.
“It is in this regard that we have started an unprecedented project to do 10 dams this year and we will be commissioning three.
“At the urban supply level, most of the towns, because of the abundant rains, have enough water in their dams to supply 14 months and above.
“Bulawayo has 14 months’ supply in its dams.
“Harare has got 25 months’ supply and we are quite pleased with that.
“At household level and not just in urban areas but also in communal areas, because climate change is real and things will get worse in the decades ahead, we need to inculcate a culture of water harvesting.”
A project progress report seen by The Sunday Mail shows that Causeway Dam, whose use plan is mainly for irrigation projects in Macheke and Makoni districts, is 96 percent complete and works are on-going on the left and right bank saddle dams.
Construction of masonry on rock surface to level up the bridge foundation is also in progress.
Chivhu Dam is 38 percent complete while Semwa and Bindura Dams are 40 and 39 percent complete respectively.
Data obtained from ZINWA shows that 13 of the country’s 27 largest dams have reached full capacity.
Tugwi-Mukosi, Manyuchi, Sebakwe, Zhovhe, Siya, Arcadia, Bubi-Lupane, Mwenje, Masembura, Silalabuhwa, Harava and Upper Insiza have all reached capacity with most now spilling excess water.
Marovanyati Dam in Buhera, Manicaland province, which was recently commissioned by President Mnangagwa, is 95 percent full and started spilling a fortnight ago.
Kariba Dam — the world’s largest man-made lake and reservoir by volume — is 36 percent full.