Marowanyati Dam: Buhera’s game changer

Samuel Kadungure Senior Reporter
THE vision of providing multi-purpose water to thousands of people in rural and peri-urban segments of Buhera is close to becoming a reality as physical progress at Marowanyati Dam has reached 47 percent completion and work done since resumption of the project in July 2017.

After 10 years of deferment under the old regime of ex-president Mr Robert Mugabe, the new administration led by President Emmerson Mnagagwa has allocated $19,5 million towards the dam’s construction and the contractor, China Jiangxi International Corporation, is receiving payments on time.

Government is implementing the bulk water supply scheme as part its effort to foster reliable access to water for communities where the impact of climate change is being keenly felt.

The total cost of the project is US$33, 251, 852, 69. The project is being supervised by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).

Zinwa Corporate Communications and Marketing Manager Mrs Marjorie Munyonga yesterday told The Manica Post that construction of Marowanyati Dam is now 47 percent complete.

“For the current budget year, Government allocated $19, 5 million towards the construction of Marowanyati Dam and the contractor is receiving his payments on time.

“All things being equal, the contractor has submitted a programme of works proposing to complete the dam by December this year. The completion is however dependant on the payments to the contractor.

“The outstanding works require an estimated US$28 million,” said Mrs Munyonga.

She said foreign currency shortages were affecting procurement of spares for the equipment. This has forced CIJC to mobilise equipment and machinery from Zambia to expedite construction work.

Three tippers, an excavator and a front loader are being expected from Zambia anytime.

“Foreign currency shortages remain the major challenge to the project. Most of the contractor’s equipment was imported from China and the current foreign currency situation has adversely affected the contractor’s ability to procure spares for the equipment.

“The contractor is also having challenges hiring equipment from the local companies as the rates are too high when compared to the rates that obtained in 2013 when the contract was signed. As such the contractor has resorted to bringing equipment from some of his projects in Zambia,” said Mrs Munyonga.

The multi-purpose reservoir has storage capacity of 50 million litres, an amount that will increase as the dam matures and will provide sufficient water to ameliorate industrial and agricultural development in the district.

The water reservoir has potential to transform and support the lives of the families and agricultural communities that live along its banks and ensuring that the growth of Murambinda will not encounter obstacles and bottlenecks in near future.

Marovanyati Dam is located on the Mwerihari River, a perennial stream with an annual flow of 182 million litres.

“The capacity of Marowanyati Dam is 50 million cubic metres with the dam expected to provide water for Murambinda Growth Point, Dorowa Mine and irrigation water for surrounding communities.

“The dam will therefore have adequate capacity to meet the water demands for Murambinda, which is expected to surge to 600 megalitres per year by 2030,” she said.

A tour of the dam on Wednesday revealed tremendous progress on major works like the 92 metre D-tunnel, back fill of the dam wall and excavation of the spillway.

The contractor was working on the D-tunnel valve box that will contain 2x900mm outlet pipes that will release the water downstream and the returning wall.

The embankment is 12m high and will go up to 35.2m and narrows at the top crest.

The embankment is 177m wide and 470m long and has four sections – the downstream fill (stable earth), the core (impermeable earth), upstream fill (stable earth) and rip-rap (rocks that dissipate the waves).

It has so far consumed about 105 000 cubics of earth at an average of 2000c per day.

The crushing of concrete stone aggregate was also in progress. So far 100 villagers have been recruited.

Marowanyati Dam is Buhera’s flagship of hope as its intended purpose is to provide domestic, industrial water supply to Murambinda and irrigation of 3 650ha of agricultural land.