UMZINGWANE MP William Dhewa has appealed to the government to expedite construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam to supply the city of Bulawayo with water so that communities in his constituency can benefit from dams within their locality.
Most of the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) supply dams are located in Umzingwane and Dhewa said this frustrated villagers because they drew no benefits from the dams.
Bulawayo’s six supply dams, Inyankuni, Umzingwane, Lower Ncema, Upper Ncema, Mtshabezi and Insiza Mayfair dams, are all located in Matabeleland South and Dhewa said they could have been used for irrigation in the drought prone province, but they were of no benefit since all their water was being pumped to Bulawayo.
According to the parliamentary publication Hansard, Dhewa said: “BCC draws its water from five dams located in Umzingwane including the new Mtshabezi Dam.
“Communities in Umzingwane do not benefit from these water sources. It is therefore prudent for the government to speed up the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam so that water from the five dams in Matabeleland South can be released for irrigation programmes that will tremendously benefit the Umzingwane community by increasing agricultural productivity.”
Silalatshani Irrigation Scheme and Potberry Irrigation Scheme are some of the irrigation projects in the province.
A supply dam is supposed to be built every 10 years, but the last dam built for the supply of water to Bulawayo was the Insiza Dam in 1976. Insiza Dam is the city’s major source of water, but in recent years, it has been at the centre of a dispute between BCC and the Insiza Rural District Council.
Stakeholders in that district have long called for Bulawayo to provide them with a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two parties in 1975 before a new agreement for Bulawayo to draw more water from Insiza is made.
The 1975 MoU was signed by the then Ministry of Water, BCC and Insiza District Council after the BCC helped Filabusi construct Insiza Dam.