Masvingo City Council has cast its net wider to secure funding for the US$72 million water augmentation project, which is set to be showcased at the Dubai Expo 2020, which runs from October to March next year.
The expo was rescheduled owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ancient city wants to duplicate its existing water pumping, purification, conveyancing and storage infrastructure to increase daily water output from around 30 mega litres to 60 mega litres.
This is expected to end chronic water shortages that have affected Masvingo, put a blemish on its position as a prime destination for investment in Zimbabwe
Masvingo draws its water from Lake Mutirikwi, Zimbabwe’s second largest interior water body.
City fathers had pinned hopes on China Exim Bank for funding to roll-out the water project but indications are that they now want to cast their net wider.
Town clerk Engineer Edward Mukaratirwa is upbeat that the move to exhibit at the upcoming Expo Dubai 2020 would help unlock the much-needed funding for the stalled water project.
He said the water augmentation project got the nod for showcasing at Expo Dubai 2020 under the Ministry of Local Government.
“We are no longer looking to China Exim Bank only for funding our water augmentation project, we are now looking for alternative funders and that is why we will be exhibiting at the Dubai Expo,” said Eng Mukaratirwa.
“We will showcase the water project before international funders and investors and we hope the project scope and its implications on investment will help unlock funding.
“Government chose our water project for exhibition and we are excited by that recognition.”
Masvingo has ambitious plans to become a world class city within the next decade but recurrent water woes stand in the way of such plans. Strategically located on the gateway to South Africa, Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner, Masvingo is one of the prime investment destinations in the country.
It is also linked by rail.
Eng Mukaratirwa said on completion of the water augmentation project, Masvingo will have surplus water after satiating demand for new settlements that are sprouting as the ancient town continues to expand. Council is presently developing hundreds of high and low density housing stands to reduce the runaway backlog and the developments require reliable water supply.
Masvingo’s population has exponentially grown in the past 40 years, increasing over five-fold from around 20 000 in 1984 to over 100 000 now.