Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
The Chinese contractor carrying out construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North Province resumed work on Monday after Treasury availed $5 million towards the project.

The resumption of work at the dam site followed the suspension of work by the contractor in 2013 due to lack of funding. Zinwa public relations manager Mrs Marjory Munyonga said the China Water and Electric Corporation was back on site and already crushing stones for concrete works.

“The contractor is also expected to soon move in to clear rubble from the river bed as well as rehabilitate access roads to the project site, among other works,” she said. “Zinwa has also moved in the requisite personnel to oversee the resumption of work at the project,” she said.

Mrs Munyonga said more resources will be availed as the project moves on. Gwayi-Shangani, which will be Zimbabwe’s third largest water reservoir after Tokwe-Mukosi and Lake Mutirikwi, is a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, which is considered as the long term solution to Bulawayo’s water challenges.

With a holding capacity of 635 million cubic metres of water, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam will be the largest water body in Matabeleland North Province.

On completion, the dam, which is on the confluence of Gwayi and Shangani rivers, is expected to bring about a lot of socio-economic transformation for surrounding communities and other parts of the drought prone Matabeleland North Province.

The dam will also have the capacity to generate six mega-watts of electricity. The resumption of work at the dam and its subsequent completion are among the key benchmarks Government set for the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster under the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.

Close to $90 million is required to complete the Gwayi-Shangani Dam project, which is also expected to promote agricultural enterprises.

President Mugabe recently commissioned Zimbabwe’s largest inland water body, Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Chivi south, which is already 70 percent full, has a capacity of 1,8 billion cubic metres.

Tokwe-Mukosi, located in the drought-prone southern Masvingo, was financed by Government at a cost of $260 million.

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