Advisory Council For Bulawayo Water Body
The Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo on Thursday named an advisory council for the long awaited National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project which is meant to bring water to arid Matabeleland.
Nkomo told Radio VOP that he had appointed Zimbabwe Commercial farmers Union President, McDonald Khumalo, as chair with his deputy as Ndaba Mazibuko and historian, Phathisa Nyathi (secretary).
The Minister said the advisory council was one of the major recommendations that came up at the June 2010 all stakeholders meeting. It is envisaged the council, which will be apolitical, will ensure that the interests of the various stakeholders in Matabeleland are represented.
“The mandate of the councillors is to capture needs, aspirations and interests of citizens,” said Nkomo.
Government had secured $864 million from the Chinese Exim Bank and China International Water and electric, had since been instructed to move on-site in preparation for implementation of phase one of the project, which is the construction of the Gwayi-Tshangani Dam. The US$8 million allocated to treasury in 2012 budget will be channeled towards sight establishment costs.
The China Dalian International Technical Group, a Chinese state owned company, and the contractor of MZWP, vice-chairperson, Fan Hu, said they will carry out soil and geographical surveys on site and preliminary design together with engineers from the Ministry of Water and the water body, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA).
The three year project is broken into two phases – a 245 km long pipe line that will be constructed from Gwayi-Tshangani Dam to the City of Bulawayo and the 122 km long pipe line that will be built from Zambezi River to Gwayi-Tshangani Dam.
The project is considered as the panacea to the perennial water shortages to the second major city of Bulawayo. It is expected to bring sufficient water to two million people. Along the pipe line, an irrigated green belt will be formed to promote local agriculture production and related agribusiness industries, increasing employment.
The MZWT chairperson, Dr Dumiso Dabengwa, said the new advisory council was inheriting a relay baton stick as the project was long overdue.