COMMENT: Gwayi-Shangani Dam pipeline turning into reality

The Chronicle

The signing of a US$50 million contract for the supply of glass fibre reinforced pipes needed for Gwayi-Shangani Dam pipeline on Monday is music to the ears of Bulawayo residents who will now have to endure 20-hour daily water shedding ahead of the imminent decommissioning of Umzingwane Dam.

After having missed last year’s deadline, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and pipeline project, which is a major Government priority, is now expected to be completed this year.

The pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo turned into a reality after the signing of the deal by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and a South African firm, Flowtite.

The decommissioning of Umzingwane Dam this month and the 20-hour daily water shedding exercise comes as water levels in the city’s supply dams remain low at a time they should be at their peak.

Already, a temporary 20-hour water shedding programme is being implemented in Gwabalanda, Magwegwe West and Magwegwe North suburbs.

Bulawayo’s six supply dams – Umzingwane, Inyakuni, Mtshabezi, Upper Insiza, Lower Insiza and Ncema – normally receive significant inflows in February, but a dry spell has diminished all hope of improved water levels.

However, thanks to Government intervention there is hope that soon, water shedding will now be a thing of the past.

The signing of the pipeline deal is a major boost for social and economic development as at least five take away points will see water from Gwayi-Shangani Dam being diverted to other areas for consumption and irrigation.

Flowtite South Africa will set up a plant by the end of the year to manufacture the glass fibre pipes in Zimbabwe for the pipeline and other local needs and to feed export markets.

Under the contract, 52 percent of the pipes for the 252km pipeline will be imported from South Africa, and that is covered under the US$50 million, while the other 48 percent will be manufactured locally.

Flowtite will deliver the pipes and attend to fittings on site, and also train the civil contractors and Zinwa staff, thereby enhancing skills transfer.

The benefits of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and pipeline project are many.

This major move by Government is indeed a huge step towards attaining Vision 2030 of an upper-middle income economy.

For far too long, Bulawayo residents have suffered; water crisis after water crisis. Supply dams cannot cope with the growing population while climate change has worsened the situation.

President Mnangagwa is a man of his word. What he promises he delivers.

He promised to solve, once and for all, Bulawayo’s water challenges, and that is exactly what he is doing.

The completion of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and pipeline project may have missed last year’s target, but it is still on time. Soon, water shedding will be gone forever.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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