The US$109 million Kunzvi Dam in Goromonzi district, planned since the mid-1990s to augment Harare water supplies and provide a direct feed into the northern and eastern suburbs, is now becoming an active project following the award of the tender to China Nanchang Engineering this year.
The contractor has moved onto the site with equipment, local workers are being recruited from Goromonzi and have started clearing the bush. Traditional rituals have been performed and the final details of the translocation of those whose homes will be flooded are now being worked on.
Kunzvi is the first supply dam for Harare not on the Manyame River, increasing security of supplies, and being to the north east of the city will with its associated treatment works provide a direct feed into the northern and eastern suburbs, those furthest from the existing dams and treatment works and consequently the areas getting no or little water.
The Chinese contractor has since begun the construction of the dam in Goromonzi district, about 67 kilometres northeast of Harare, a move that has been welcomed by villagers, village heads and chiefs in and around the area.
The company was awarded the $109 million project to build the dam in August on a build, operate and transfer model ahead of several local contractors and another Chinese contractor SinoHydro.
The dam is being built through a loan from China.
Kunzvi dam site is situated on the confluence of the Nora and Nyagui rivers in Goromonzi and the contract includes the dam, treatment works and pipeline.
According to the Harare City Masterplan, Kunzvi Dam should have been built in 1996 and started supplying water by 2000.
The contractor has now moved on site and has started preliminary work such as establishing offices, mobilising heavy construction equipment and conducting engineering surveys as the Second Republic moves to upgrade the capital city’s water supply under a massive infrastructural development plan which is in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
On Tuesday heavy construction equipment such as excavators, bulldozers and tippers were on site while labour camps have been built. Bush clearance is at an advanced stage.
On Sunday, government officials, Zimbabwe National Water Authority officials, the contractor and relevant authorities met traditional leaders in the area and witnessed the traditional rituals at the site.
However, on Tuesday, this team met village heads and councillors from Murehwa and Goromonzi, informing them of the new developments and starting the process of working out where some water can be diverted for irrigation and how those who have to move will be compensated and given new land and homes.
Village head, Mr Phillion Gore (Headman Dudzu) said he welcomed the project which he said would transform many communities.
“However, my main concern are reports that the project will result in relocation of some families. We don’t oppose that but what we want is that they should be relocated not very far away from the dam as they should also benefit,” he said.
Most of those who will have to move were born and bred in the area and leaving their birthplace for other areas, especially another province was not going to be easy and he urged the authorities to redesignate nearby farms for the resettlement of those having to be relocated.
He applauded President Mnangagwa for the project saying there is going to be a lot of developments in the area once the dam has been constructed.
Goromonzi Ward 12 Councillor Kondwakuenda Magaya spoke of the permanent advantages to the area from the dam. Besides the temporary employment there would be permanent jobs. Water would be available locally for irrigation. The dam would allow resorts to be created, boosting the local economy and providing jobs.