Irrigation blocks for Gwayi-Shangani dam identified

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Harare (New Ziana) – The government has completed identifying irrigation blocks, both commercial and communal, that will benefit from the Gwayi-Shangani dam which will also produce 10 megawatts of electricity to drive the rural irrigation development programme.

Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere said the massive irrigation potential of the Gwayi-Shangani dam has excited local communities, as government moves to open 200 hectares of irrigation land per district.

He said chiefs in Lupane, Binga and Hwange have been rallied to support the irrigation programme.

“The communities have understood the thrust of the projects and it has generated a lot of interest among them,” he said in a post Cabinet briefing.

“Both communal and commercial irrigation blocks have been identified. The process of identifying irrigation pumping points is now complete. The 200 hactare per district under the Vision 2030 accelerator model is receiving urgent priority, and the irrigation for Bulawayo peri-urban areas was discussed.”

Muswere said civil works for the 252km pipeline that will convey water from the dam were on course, with 11 contractors on site.

“All the contractors are now on site, and 68 km of the 252 km of the pipeline route have been cleared, while 6 km have been excavated. The 220 Mega Litres per day Treatment Plant at Cowdray Park is at the tendering stage, with bids having closed on 10 June 2022. About 800megalitres of the treated water will be pumped directly to the 108 ML Magwegwe Clear Water Reservoir for onward distribution to the City of Bulawayo,” he said.

In March, Cabinet announced plans to open at least 50 000 hectares of land per year under an accelerated irrigation development programme, as government ramps up the pursuit of measures to mitigate effects of climate change.

Development of irrigation schemes country-wide is part of government’s overall aim to ensure the country’s food security through reducing reliance on rain fed agriculture.

Meanwhile, Muswere said designs for the mini-hydro power plant at the dam are set to be finalised by the end of this month.

He said excavations for the permanent access road, which will provide access to the mini-hydropower house commenced in March.

“Regarding hydro-power generation, the final design capacity of the plant is 10megawatts. The Zimbabwe National Water Authority and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority will finalise the designs of the mini-hydropower plant and the subsequent electricity evacuation infrastructure by end of this month,” he said.

“The power generated will be fed into the national grid and assist in achieving self-sufficiency in power generation as well as rural industrialisation for the benefit of local communities.”

The government intends to build an electricity generating plant at every new major dam under construction to address power outages affecting the agricultural sector.

Government is presently constructing three major dams in Matabeleland, Gwayi-Shangani with a 650 million cubic metres holding capacity, the 90 million cubic metre Ziminya in Nkayi and the 53 million cubic metre Tuli-Manyange Dam in Matabeleland South.

Muswere said construction of the Gwayi-Shangani dam was now at 66.2 percent.

Muswere said the Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities was working on model rural homesteads designs, and the proposed design drawings, complete with costs will be produced by 1 July 2022 for families that need to be relocated.

“The homesteads will have modern ablution facilities. Valuations for compensation of households around the dam that need to be relocated have been completed. The thrust is building formal and better houses with modern designs reflecting rural development as espoused in Vision 2030.”

“Cabinet further directed an acceleration of the project in line with Vison 2030.”
New Ziana

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