Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Water supply challenges in Harare and Chitungwiza are set to be permanently addressed as the long-awaited construction of the multi-million dollar Kunzvi Dam in Mashonaland East has started with the Chinese contractor vowing to complete the project within the 39-month set target.
The contractor has now moved on site and has started preliminary work such as establishing offices, mobilising heavy construction equipment and conducting engineering surveys as the Second Republic moves to upgrade the capital city’s water supply under a massive infrastructural development plan which is in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Commenting on the project on his twitter handle, Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana said Harare’s water problems would soon be a thing of the past upon its completion.
“This is morphing into reality. The project is meant to resolve Harare, Ruwa and Chitungwiza water problems. Preliminary work on the dam has now started and the dam is expected to be ready in 39 months.
“This year, site establishment and profiling will be completed,” said Mr Mangwana.
Establishment of access roads and bush clearance has also started after the contractor, China Nanchang Engineering, moved on site a fortnight ago.
Commencement of works at the site puts to an end a two-decade wait for the Kunzvi Dam project which failed to take off under the old political dispensation.
China Nanchang Engineering won the tender to construct the dam which will expand Harare’s water supply and end water shortages in the eastern and northern suburbs.
Kunzvi Dam, to the east of the capital at the confluence of the Nyaguwe and Nora Rivers in Goromonzi District, will augment supplies from Lake Chivero and Lake Manyame both on Manyame River on the western verges of Harare.
Prior to work on Kunzvi Dam, the contractor has built Muchekeranwa Dam in Mashonaland East which was recently commissioned by President Mnangagwa.
The firm is also working on Sengwa Dam in Mount Darwin, Mashonaland Central province, Silverstroom in Centenary and has completed the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane dams link pipeline.
Commencement of the work at Kunzvi Dam followed the dismissal by the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ), of an appeal by one of the losing companies, Sinohydro.
PRAZ said Sinohydro’s appeal lacked merit.
When The Herald news crew visited the site on Thursday, surveyors were pegging the dam site while putting up project offices.
Some heavy construction equipment such as excavators, bulldozers and tippers was already on site while labour camps are also in place.
Bush clearance was at an advanced stage.
The project is also going to result in the relocation of families around the area.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) engineers met senior Government officials in Goromonzi and Murehwa districts to formally inform them of the commencement of work.
A formal meeting involving communities, their leaders and other stakeholders is on the cards.
Nanchang Engineering executive chairman, Mr Liangming Jin said more equipment was now at Beira awaiting dispatch to the Kunzvi Dam site.
“Our equipment has landed at Beira, we have containers, bulldozers, tippers. We might complete the project ahead of schedule particularly if they quickly relocate families.
“We have since written to Zinwa for us to start excavation and we are waiting for their response,” he said.
Zinwa Resident Engineer, Davison Madondo said preliminary work had started for the multi-million dollar project.
“We are currently marking high flood level and we are still to establish the number of families in the basin for relocation.
“The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works will do evaluation of properties for compensation and do the relocation.
“The expected date of completion is December 2024,” said Eng Madondo.
“The dam will mainly supply water to Harare and Chitungwiza. There is also potential to supply water to centres like Juru Growth Point, Arcturus and Goromonzi.”
Village head, Mr Edigius Dzvanga said he welcomed the project which he said would transform many communities.
“Some Government officials came to inform me about this project and indeed I gave them my blessings because it will help communities. Our only concern are reports that the project will result in relocation of some families.
“While we have not officially been informed, we are worried about that because we were born and bred here so leaving our birthplace for other areas will not be easy,” said Mr Dzvanga.
Kunzvi Dam is touted as the permanent solution to Harare’s perennial water problems.