Leonard Ncube-Victoria Falls Reporter
THE GOVERNMENT is in the process of evaluating applications received from potential contractors to construct the 252km pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) resident engineer at the dam, Engineer Paul Dengu, said tenders will be awarded within a month or two.
The Second Republic under President Mnangagwa has committed to fulfil the century-old dream to permanently solve Bulawayo’s perennial water woes as well as transform lives in the Matabeleland region by completing the capital project which was first mooted in 1912.
President Mnangagwa four months ago officiated at the ground breaking ceremony of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline as he commissioned the Epping Forest water project in Nyamandlovu under Umguza District in Matabeleland North.
Treasury allocated over $500 million for the Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo pipeline, paving way tendering process towards start of exploration and civil works.
“We are now at the evaluation stage and in the process of adjudicating tenders and awarding will be done within the next month or two. Land for irrigation is also being identified,” said Eng Dengu during a recent visit to the dam site.
Progress at the main dam project is at 41 percent.
The dam will have a capacity of 635 million cubic metres of water, making it the third biggest in-land dam in the country after Tugwi Mukosi and Mutirikwi.
About 160 million cubic metres will supply Bulawayo while the other water will be for irrigation, Eng Dengu said.
He said the “dam will swallow about 10 000ha of land which will be prone to flooding” and advised the need to expedite identification of land for about 350 families who will be displaced on the Lubimbi side of the dam in Binga district.
No alternative land has been identified yet where the displaced families will be relocated to, Eng Dengu.
“We have five months to make sure we don’t have a repeat of the flooding that took place in Tugwi Mukosi. So there is a lot of work to be done on the issue of resettlement and we hope the Local Government authorities will be quick,” he said.
An irrigation greenbelt will be established along the pipeline and closer to the dam site especially around Jotsholo area which is prime farming land.
Communities in Tsholotsho, Lupane and Umguza districts where the pipeline pass through will also benefit through offtakes, according to a report presented to Minister for Presidential Affairs and Monitoring the Implementation of Government Projects, Dr Jorum Gumbo and Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Richard Moyo recently.
Construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project, which is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP), is set to be completed by December this year while the pipeline will be completed in 2022.
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