The Herald, November 30, 1985 

THE $5,5 million Smallbridge Dam, designed to augment Mutare’s water supplies, was officially commissioned by the Minister of Energy and Water Resources and Development, Cde Kumbiral Kangai, yesterday. 

The 15 million cubic metre dam is upstream of the 6,5 million cubic metre Odzani Dam, which has been Mutare’s sole reservoir. 

Work started on the site in June 1983, said Cde Kangai, and the earthworks were finished in July this year with the pipework and valves ready this month.

More than 200 people, mostly from the surrounding area, were employed on the project and the total includes 20 women who planted the grass on the embankments. 

The money for the dam was all Zimbabwean. The dam wall is 25m high and is 143m long at the crest. 

The new dam will end the need for water rationing in Mutare as it will be able to supply the city with 17 million cubic metres a year. 

Cde Kangai said increased water supplies were needed as Zimbabwe’s economy expanded and his ministry would continue to build dams whenever there was a need and the money was available.

About 30 percent of Zimbabwe’s surface water resources had already been developed. Smallbridge will give Mutare adequate supplies to the year 2000, said the minister. 

The latest Government water statistics show Smallbridge was 95,8 percent full on Monday this week. 

 LESSONS

Smallbridge Dam is a large water body about 40 kilometres North of the city of Mutare. It used to be the city’s main source of water before the construction of the Pungwe water pipeline and Osborne Dam.

 Water harvesting through the construction of dams is key to countering the negative effects of climate change and to also meet the rising demand for water, especially in urban areas. 

For instance the Government is constructing the Gwayi-Shangani dam which is expected to be the panacea for perennial water problems in the country’s second largest city, Bulawayo.

 For such projects to be sustainable, there is need to provide recreational facilities within the environs of the dams. Apart from being a reservoir for water for Mutare, Smallbridge offers excellent recreational facilities such as camping.

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