Leonard Ncube and Mashudu Netsianda
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday toured Lake Gwayi-Shangani site and expressed satisfaction on progress made in the construction of the giant water project.
He proved his commitment to hard work by presiding over three national events in one day.
In the morning he officiated at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a 42km Deka pipeline in Hwange town before commissioning a 5MW solar power plant at Cross Mabale about 80km outside Hwange in the afternoon. He then proceeded to the lake site which is more than 20km away from the solar plant and was taken to the top deck view point before being led down to the site where construction of the dam wall is taking place.
The President said for a project that had failed to take off for over a century to be at over 60 percent within one year, shows great achievement which makes him very excited.
“I am extremely happy with progress made so far. If we can make this progress inside a year which was not done in more than 100 years, and to know that in a year’s time it is going to be complete, I must be happy,” he said in an interview during the tour.
President Mnangagwa joked that his administration will literally chase after hunger if it shows up in Matabeleland North, as he explained how the project is going to help transform people’s lives.
“We made a decision that once this is constructed we can deal with the problem of water in Bulawayo once and for all. But in the process we are going to provide water along the way for the Binga side as well as the Lupane and Hwange areas.
Along the way we are going to irrigate in excess of 10 000ha so there will be no hunger here. If we see hunger we will chase it away.
“We are also going to have about 10MW of hydro-electric power which again we will make sure schools and communities around will benefit,” he said.
At the site, workmen were busy drilling on rocks on the riverbank preparing for the dam wall.
The dam wall on the riverbed is now 19,35 metres high, while overall progress is over 61 percent.
There is significant progress in the construction even by merely looking at work that has been done.
Engineers told the President that work is underway on the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline where some contractors have already started working on some sections of the pipeline.
Lake Gwayi-Shangani was first mooted in 1912 and implementation failed to take off under the Rhodesian administration.
Its construction is part of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project which upon completion is expected to provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo and Matabeleland region.
Government took over the project in 2012 and the Second Republic has committed considerable resources to it and others in line with the aspirations of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) towards Vision 2030.
Government’s implementing arm, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is working with China International Water and Electric Corp’s engineers.
At any given time, there are about 350 workers on site with capacity to go up to 620 to push work, as implementers push for completion of the project.
Lake Gwayi-Shangani project is expected to create an irrigation greenbelt for communities along the 252km pipeline to Bulawayo.
There will be another 122km pipeline linking the dam to Zambezi River. About 350 households on the Binga side of the dam will be relocated while none will be affected on the Hwange and Lupane side, besides some properties that will be affected.
The dam wall will be 72 metres high while the holding capacity will be 634,27 million cubic metres, according to update given by the engineers.
Lake Gwayi-Shangani will be the third biggest inland water body in the country after Tugwi-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo. — @ncubeleon
Article Source: The Chronicle