From George Maponga in Masvingo
President Mnangagwa is tomorrow expected to commission the revived Chombwe Water Scheme which will supply piped water to over 10 000 households in arid Chivi North and Central.
The revival of the scheme gobbled nearly $8 million and was financed by the Government under the devolution programme.
The scheme will transform parts of Chivi economically through access to potable water for rural households, schools, clinics and business centres along a belt stretching from Mhandamabwe business centre to Chivi Growth Point.
The households that will get piped water supplies will also have scope to develop small irrigation plots ranging from 0.5hectares to one hectare in size engendering food security in the traditionally drought-prone Chivi in line with Vision 2030.
Water from the scheme is drawn from Tokwe River downstream of the underutilized Muzhwi Dam, a development which shows the Second Republic’s commitment to utilising idle water bodies countrywide.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira was upbeat about prospects of the project to change the socio-economic face of Chivi in line with Vision 2030.
The Minister paid tribute to President Mnangagwa’s administration for walking the talk on vision 2030, describing devolution as a potential “game changer” for Masvingo and the nation at large.
“President Mnangagwa is coming to Chivi on Wednesday to launch Chombwe Piped Water Project which was funded under devolution to the tune of nearly $8 million which was budgeted for the project,” said Minister Chadzamira.
“We are excited with the Chombwe water scheme because it will supply piped water to plus or minus 10 000 households and this water will be used for domestic purposes, drinking for livestock and also irrigate smallholder irrigation schemes that will range from 0,5 to 1ha in size so we are looking at a combined minimum of 5 000ha that will be irrigated.”
According to Minister Chadzamira, the revival of Chombwe water scheme was testimony to Government’s commitment to transform Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy within the next decade.
“We want to replicate the Chombwe water scheme in every district here in Masvingo. Such a project will benefit institutions such as schools and clinics and also business centres with access to water.”
Chivi Rural District Council chair Councillor Godfrey Mukungunugwa noted that revival of Chombwe Water Scheme had positioned northern Chivi on the path of rapid socio-economic development.
According to him, the revived scheme would stimulate economic development with irrigation farming expected to bring both food security and boost disposable incomes for rural households.
“Currently we are supplying raw water to households along a belt from Super Business Centre near Mhandamabwe up to Chivi Growth Point and this water can be used for drinking in the homes because we are supplying water treatment tablets to every family.
“The water will also be for livestock, wild animals and for irrigation. We are supplying the water for free at the moment to all the households and institutions such as schools and payment modalities will be worked out once we start supplying treated water,”said Councillor Mukungunugwa.
Villagers are optimistic that the revival of the water scheme will spur socio-economic growth in Chivi in line with Vision 2030.
Mr Josphat Mhikuro of Mhikuro village paid tribute to President Mnangagwa’s administration, through Minister Chadzamira, for making sure Chombwe was successfully revived.
“Its a dream come true. Chivi is a very dry area but we are fortunate enough to have perennial rivers and underutilised dams which can be tapped for irrigation and supply of drinking water like what has happened at Chombwe,” he said.
Mr Taurai Masvinu of Rutsinda Village said the revival of the scheme set Chivi on the cusp of socio-economic transformation.
“We are grateful to President Mnangagwa and his Government because we never thought this scheme would be up and running again after its collapsed in the 1990s due to neglect of infrastructure,” said Mr Masvinu.
Others said Chombwe’s rebirth marked an exciting stage in the development of Chivi after the advent of the Second Republic.
The scheme had been mothballed since the 1990s only for its revival to kick-off after Minister Chadzamira and the provincial leadership prioritised it for funding using the devolution war chest.
Chombwe Water Scheme was initiated by Headman Madyangove with the assistance of the District Development Fund (DDF) before independence in 1972.