By Tirivanhu Kateera
IN the 2018 election manifesto, ZANU PF party promised to improve service delivery to the people and eventually catapult Zimbabwe to an Upper Middle Income Economy by 2030 with or without sanctions and with or without Foreign Direct Investment.
In terms of water supply the party promised, “Safe and sufficient drinking water and sanitation for the citizenry as a right conferred to them by the constitution – water purity to meet World Health Organisation standards.”
The country’s detractors dismissed the promise as one of those “rants” which should not be taken seriously by any sane person.
Fast forward to 2021, a new dawn has emerged in Matabeleland North and Bulawayo provinces. Since time immemorial, Matabeleland provinces have witnessed acute water shortages, which were exacerbated by mismanagement and corruption by council officials as well as illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by Western countries and climate change among other factors.
Focusing on Bulawayo, the existing water supply dams for the city are in the Mzingwane catchment to the south of the city. The water resources in this catchment are exhausted and supply from the existing dams is no longer adequate to meet the city’s water demand.
To the north of the city is the Gwayi catchment and the nearest viable dam site is the Gwayi-Shangani dam (GSD), 260km away. It is envisaged that water will be conveyed from the GSD by a pipeline with a series of booster pump stations along the way. It is also envisaged that eventually the dam supply will be augmented by water pumped from the Zambezi River.
This scheme is known as the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP) and was first mooted in 1912.
Since then, leaders failed to implement the mega project which took the New Dispensation less than three years to begin its implementation; a sign that the new leadership is keen to transform the people’s lives compared with its predecessors.
The NMZWP is divided into three phases: phase one construction of Gwayi-Shangani dam; phase two construction of a pipeline from Gwayi-Shangani Dam to Bulawayo and phase three construction of a pipeline from Zambezi River to link with the Gwayi-Shangani pipeline at Kennedy Siding along the Bulawayo-Vic Falls railway line.
In addition to Bulawayo city, the NMZWP will supply water for irrigation and other uses along the pipeline turning Matabeleland into a green belt. This will help the region to produce its own food and supply to towns such as Victoria Falls, Hwange and Lupane.
In order to fulfil promises made to the electorate, on 25 February 2021, President Emmerson Mnangagwa performed the ground breaking ceremony for the Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo Pipeline (GSBP) and also officially commissioned the Epping Forest Bulawayo Water Supply Augmentation Project (EFWSAP). The two projects are set to radically resolve the water challenges in the City of Bulawayo for good.
GSBP is the second phase of the NMZWP.
EFWSAP will add an additional 10 megalitres of ground water to the city of Bulawayo.
This will enable the City of Bulawayo to suspend water rationing sooner than expected following the inclusion of Epping Forest and Rochetser Scheme in Nyamandlovu in the supply of water to the city. Sweet news to the people of Bulawayo who had suffered for some time under the hands of MDC-led council officials who doesn’t have service delivery at heart, but only concerned about lining their own pockets.
Realising that MDC-led councils were not delivering service to them, Bulawayo residents have been calling for Government’s intervention to end the water woes in the country’s second largest city.
Because the New Dispensation is a listening Government, it has started delivering what the people of Bulawayo want: water. Government’s intervention in Bulawayo is both long term and short term all with one goal, to deliver water to the people of Bulawayo.
The latest development comes hard on the heels of the country’s detractors who are disturbed whenever the country makes progress, as they wish a prolonged water challenge in Bulawayo to support their regime change agenda.
True to its promises, the New Dispensation is mobilising local resources for the two said projects with sanctions still in place. This is a big blow to those who wish the country ill fortune.
The New Dispensation is making progress in terms of service delivery and it deserves the support of all progressive Zimbabweans at home and abroad.
- Tirivanhu writes in his personal capacity. – Zimbabwe Voice 🔺