Bulawayo (New Ziana) –The provision of clean, safe and portable water to citizens remains a top priority for the Zimbabwe government, President Emerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.
He was speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline project and the commissioning of the Epping Forest Bulawayo Water Supply Augmentation project at the Nyamandlovu aquifer.
Both projects are meant to end perennial water challenges in the country’s second largest city which has had to implement water shedding as supplies dwindled.
“As we move towards the attainment of vision 2030, it is my administration’s aspiration to have a long term and sustainable solution to the City of Bulawayo’s perennial water challenges. Reliable water supplies and other enablers must position the city as a an attractive investment destination and the country’s industrial hub,” President Mnangagwa said.
He said Epping Forest Bulawayo water augmentation project, which was funded by the government, saw the rehabilitation of existing boreholes and the drilling and equipping of new ones to add an additional daily average of 10 million litres of water to Bulawayo.
“In addition, a community borehole has been set aside specifically for the families in this area,” he said.
“The Epping forest and Rochester projects remain part of the short term interventions by Government to ensure that there is clean and affordable water in the city of Bulawayo. We are equally glad that the Mtshabezi project played a very important role towards providing water to the city of Bulawayo most importantly during this difficult COVID-19 period.”
Turning to the Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline project, President Mnangagwa said half a billion dollars had been availed for the project.
Completion of the independent but interlinked projects would ultimately spur economic production, productivity and growth as well as permanently resolving challenges often experienced in the region
“The first stage of the project which is the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam is already underway and on course with a total of ZWL4.5 billion allocated for the project in the 2021 National Budget. The dam will be completed by December 2021.
“Furthermore, government has also allocated ZWL535 million towards the commencement of work on the 245 kilometre long Gwayi-Shangani-Bulawayo pipeline whose completion is expected by December 2022,” he said.
“On completion, the pipeline will have the capacity to convey in excess of 160 000 mega litres of water to Bulawayo annually, a development that will improve the water and sanitation requirements of the city.”
President Mnangagwa said the project would also assist in establishing the Matabeleland region as a green belt.
“Agriculture remains the bedrock of our economy hence strategic policies continue to be rolled out to ensure greater production, productivity and profitability in the sector. To this end, plans for an irrigation scheme covering 6 000 ha in the vicinity of the dam are in place. In addition, the large volume of water from the project will propel irrigation activities along the pipeline route in parts of Lupane, Tsholotsho and Umguza districts,” he said.
“Matabeleland North Province will therefore become food secure and an exporter of surplus agriculture produce as well as play host to a viable rural industry system.”