TODAY marks another milestone achievement by Government as it moves to find a lasting solution to Bulawayo’s perennial water crisis and transform the lives of residents.
President Mnangagwa arrived in Bulawayo yesterday evening ahead of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline ground-breaking ceremony as well as the commissioning of the Epping Forest boreholes in Nyamandlovu.
Bulawayo has since 2019 been grappling with probably its worst water shortage in history largely due to the effects of climate change and depleting water levels at its supply dams located in Matabeleland South.
Epping Forest in Nyamandlovu is one of the key water projects undertaken by Government to address critical water challenges in Bulawayo.
Following the drilling and rehabilitation of 20 boreholes by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) at the Nyamandlovu Aquifer to augment water supply in Bulawayo and other interventions, the city is expected to regain its status as the country’s industrial hub.
Pumping water from Nyamandlovu aquifer boreholes is expected to ease Bulawayo’s water crisis as the city will have an additional 10 megalitres (ML) a day.
Last September, Treasury released $205 million for the rehabilitation of the boreholes.
The massive Gwayi-Shangani Dam project whose construction is underway and set to be completed before the end of next year will transform the lives of communities along the 260km water pipeline route from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo.
Villagers in areas along the pipeline will tremendously benefit through increased agricultural activity as several irrigation schemes will be established.
The dam will have a holding capacity of 650 million cubic metres of water, which is slightly bigger than the total capacity of Bulawayo’s six supply dams. Government has this year allocated $4,5 billion towards the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project.
Work on the Gwayi-Shangani water pipeline is expected to start soon as Government has already floated a tender for survey works.
The dam and the pipeline are part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).
Zinwa chief executive Engineer Taurai Maurikira said all is set for the commissioning of the 20 boreholes at Epping Forest boreholes and the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline.
He said the NMZWP will permanently address Bulawayo’s water crisis
“The National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project is ready to give rest to the water problems in Bulawayo. The water shortage became more pronounced over the last few years due to droughts caused by climate change,” he said.
Eng Maurikira said the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is the first phase under the NMZWP with the construction of the 260km pipeline being the second phase.
“The third phase will include the construction of another 120km pipeline from the Zambezi River to the dam. Treasury has been very supportive of the project and the target is to ensure Bulawayo benefit from the dam as soon as possible hence this groundbreaking ceremony for the pipeline,” he said.
Eng Maurikira said a greenbelt will be established along the pipeline thereby boosting food security for communities.