The Government is constructing 12 high impact dams countrywide including Kunzvi Dam in Mashonaland East and Ziminya Dam in Nkayi, Matabeleland North, which will have a hydro power station on site.
Ziminya Dam was mooted 24 years ago but no work had been done since the conception of the project and work only started under the Second Republic.
The construction of hydro power stations at new dam sites is in line with Government’s thrust of rural industrialisation as the nation targets food self-sufficiency.
Electricity that will be generated at new dams will provide electricity to rural communities while also powering irrigation projects that will be established following the construction of water bodies.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) which has been given a new mandate to drive the realisation of a water secure, climate-proof and drought-proof nation has valued the 12 high impact dam projects at US$1,1 billion.
Under its new thrust, Zinwa will provide potable water, establish nutrition gardens, fishery projects, orchards and water for dip tanks.
President Mnangagwa’s Second Republic has put at the top of its agenda infrastructure development that will serve as a springboard towards attainment of an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
The President’s vision has seen projects that had become a pipedream coming back to life.
Significant works have been made in the construction of Lake Gwayi Shangani in Matabeleland North which will see power also being generated onsite.
Lake Gwayi-Shangani’s construction is now at 68 percent and the completion will end Bulawayo’s water woes while transforming Matabeleland region into a greenbelt.
In a statement yesterday, Zinwa said another dam in Matabeleland North, Ziminya Dam will address the longstanding problems of access to water for the Nkayi community while creating local economic productivity for the villagers.
The dam with a holding capacity of 2 million cubic metres was planned in 1998 but there was no work that was done until new contracts were awarded in 2021 with teams moving to the ground this year.
The project cost is pegged at US$132 million.
“The benefit of the project (will include) Nkayi water supply, agriculture (covering) 1 250 hectares, fisheries, tourism and power generation,” reads Zinwa’s statement.
It said works on the dam are still at the preliminary stages and they include site surveying, access road clearance, excavations and dam foundation clearing. The overall progress on the water body’s construction is five percent.
Zinwa said the other dam being constructed is Tuli Manyange Dam in Matabeleland South.
It is 33 percent complete and it will provide communities with water for drinking while leading to the establishment of 1 200ha of irrigation.
Zinwa said new innovations have been adopted to scale up construction works at Lake Gwayi Shangani as the contractor has adopted roller-compacted concrete for works on the ground.
It said the dam’s impact will be to provide a permanent water solution for Bulawayo while agriculture, fisheries, tourism and power generation are some of the benefits of the project that was mooted in 1912, but will be completed under the Second republic.
Other dams being constructed in the country include Vungu Dam in Midlands, Silverstroom, Dande, Bindura and Semwa dams in Mashonaland Central with Chivhu and Kunzvi dams in Mashonaland East.
From the 12 projects, Government has completed the construction of Muchekeranwa Dam, which lies on the border of Manicaland and Mashonaland East provinces and Marovanyati in Manicaland.
Responding to questions Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga said the construction of high impact dams in several provinces countrywide is in fulfilment of President Mnangagwa’s vision of leaving no one and no place behind.
“The Government, through Zinwa, is currently implementing 12 major dam construction projects around the country whose project elements are at various stages of completion. The dam projects are spread across the country and represent major investments in water infrastructure,” said Mrs Munyonga.
“The projects are being run at the same time in pursuit of ensuring equitable access to water by all citizens and in line with the current Government mantra of inclusive development and leaving no place or people behind.”
She said Treasury is funding the high-impact projects through the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).
Mrs Munyonga said it is now Government policy that all new dams being constructed should have a provision for power generation.
She said the construction of dams is also in line with Government’s quest to climate-proof Zimbabwe from the effects of climate change through unlocking the country’s irrigation potential.
“Government intends to have 350 000 hectares of land under irrigation by 2025 and the dams, on completion, will go a long way in helping Zimbabwe achieve this target. As part of its expanded mandate, Zinwa is now expected to develop irrigation infrastructure, including infield works, hence the agricultural components that form the scope of these projects are in line with Zinwa’s mandate,” she said.