Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Delays in the completion of dam projects countrywide is costing Government at least $1,2 million per dam annually, a situation which has seen some projects being abandoned altogether, an official has said.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority director for Engineering and Hydrology Services Engineer Taurai Maurukira made the revelations during last week’s tour of the authority’s water projects by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Environment, Water, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
Eng Maurukira said because of the delays in availing of funds for the dams, the projects ended up taking long to be completed, while some operations would have to be repeated, increasing costs in the process.
“Tokwe Mukosi Dam accumulated standing charges of $4 million,” he said. “Beitbridge Water Supply Apprehension accumulated $4 million, while Gwayi Shangani Dam accumulated $5 million.
“The Gwayi Shangani Dam project is no longer accumulating standing charges as Government allocated $20 million for construction and $5 million has already been released. Semwa Dam project in Rushinga had been accumulating costs, but has since been stopped, while Tuli-Mayange Dam is no longer accumulating costs because it was suspended.”
President Mugabe recently commissioned the Tokwe Mukosi Dam in Masvingo where he launched a $1 million fishery project at the country’s biggest inland water reservoir.
Eng Maurukira said construction work at the Gwayi Shangani project, which is being implemented under the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and being constructed by China International Electric Corporations, had since resumed.
The $120 million Gwayi Shangani project is expected to supply water to Bulawayo, solve water shortages and enable the establishment of a five megawatt mini hydro station.
The dam will be Zimbabwe’s third largest in-land water reservoir after Tokwe Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, both in Masvingo.
This will also enable the creation of a 60km greenbelt from Zambezi River through Gwayi Shangani to Bulawayo.
The resumption of work at the dam site followed the suspension of work by the contractor in 2013 due to lack of funding.
“We had done excavation on the Gwayi Shangani Dam, but due to the delays, floods came and the river bed has been refilled with rubble and sand and we are re-excavating,” said Eng Maurukira.
“We have experienced financial fatigues. We continue to pay the contractor for the same operation. The re-excavation has cost us $500 000.”
Government has since paid the contractor $17 million in arrears.
“We require $110 million to complete the dam and we expect to complete the structure by June 2019 if funds come,” said Eng Maurukira.
“The vision is to take the water from Gwayi-Shangani and Zambezi River. The project is being implemented in three phases. The first phase is the construction of Gwayi Shangani Dam which has so far reached 25 percent completion, while the second phase is the construction of a 280km pipeline stretching from Bulawayo to Gwayi Shangani Dam.
“If completed, water can be delivered directly to Bulawayo.”
Eng Maurukira said the third stage involved the construction of a 120km pipeline to connect to the second pipeline.
On the Musami-Kunzvi Harare Water Project, also known as the Kunzvi Dam Project, Eng Maurukira said Government had secured funding and is expected to commence construction soon.
This $600 million project is aimed at addressing water shortages in Harare.
Legislators from the committee queried the prioritisation of the projects.
Committee chairperson Cde Wonder Mashange said the Musami-Kunzvi Harare Water Project was urgent to solve water challenges in Harare.