THE seepage at the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam wall is set to further delay the completion of the multi-million dollar project, a Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) official has said.
The dam was scheduled for completion by December 31, 2013 but the deadline was shifted to April this year.
Tokwe-Mukosi Dam resident engineer Paul Dengu told Vice-President Joice Mujuru on Wednesday that they would need about three months to drain the water for them to construct the final dam wall.
“We are supposed to complete all work by August, but it depends on the draining of the water,” he said.
“In six weeks’ time, we should empty all the water so that we may put the concrete lining on the final wall.
“This means that we need another two to three months to finish construction of the dam.”
Dengu said the heavy inflows into the dam, which flooded 2 600 hectares of the dam’s flood basin and saw several families’ homesteads immersed in water and property destroyed, was not expected and this led to the rock-fill dam wall giving in.
At full supply, the dam will cover an area of approximately 9 600 hectares.
“We did not expect such a heavy inflow this year. We expected the water to flood 600 hectares, but it is covering 2 600 hectares now,” Dengu said.
“The floods caught us when the dam wall was at 67 metres high and went through the rocks.
“We expected that this year, the water would not exceed 44 metres.
“In 15 days, the water levels increased by nine metres, and so we started constructing the wall day and night to arrest the inflow.”
Apart from the floods, delays in resettling the displaced villagers due to lack of funds had stalled progress on the construction of the dam, especially in areas where blasting was required, meaning the deadline would not be met.
While some money for resettling villagers at Nuanetsi Ranch in Mwenezi was disbursed, some villagers squandered the money before they had even moved and are still stuck there.
Some of the villagers had earlier resisted eviction saying they wanted to be moved downstream so that they could benefit from the dam through irrigation.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti also said some villagers were resisting evacuation before their property had been evaluated for compensation.
“Some families (1 870) are resisting to be moved before their properties are evaluated, saying their compensation will not tally with the value of their structures,” he said.
“We are appealing to the Ministry of Local Government to increase the number of evaluators.”
About 6 396 families in the dam’s flood basin have to be moved, but Bhasikiti said resettling them was going at a snail’s pace due to lack of transport to ferry people and their livestock to Mwenezi.
Almost 18 764 cattle have to be moved in the process.