George Maponga in Masvingo
The two local authorities that share Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body, Lake Tugwi-Mukosi have constituted a combination planning authority that will craft the land use plan at the reservoir after approval of the master plan by Government.
Masvingo Rural District Council(RDC) and its Chivi RDC counterpart share the huge water body that is perched on the boundary between the two districts.
The dam’s master plan is now awaiting Cabinet approval in a move that will pave way for full exploitation of the 1,8 billion cubic meters capacity dam that is set to make arid parts of southern into a perennial greenbelt.
The master plan that encompasses the spatial plan and the irrigation development plan will designate land use in the dam’s immediate environment and also areas to be irrigated including methods of irrigation.
Chivi RDC chief executive Mr Tariro Matavire says Government has already gazetted the Tugwi-Mukosi combination planning authority that will work on the local development plan around the dam.
The authority comprises four councillors from each of the two local authorities who will work in tandem with experts from the two councils.
Among the experts will be land planners, economists and others from spheres such as tourism to make sure all the low hanging fruits at the dam are fully exploited.
Besides the scope to irrigate more than 40 000 hectares around the dam and downstream areas, Tugwi-Mukosi will also be a tourism hub with recreational boating and a mega wildlife sanctuary earmarked there.
A 15-megawatt mini-hydropower plant is already on the cards with the projects close to reaching financial closure.
Currently, the dam is already gaining traction as a fledgling fisheries hub with cooperatives predominated by villagers from Chivi and Masvingo districts venturing into commercial fishing.
The dam was commissioned in 2017 and cost about US$250 million to build.