The completion of the Great Zimbabwe Hydro-Power Plant, that will feed at least 5 megawatts of electricity into the national grid, is set to ease perennial water challenges in Masvingo.
The plant is expected to be complete by July 2023.
The completion of the system will result in council’s water treatment pumping machinery at Bushmead Water Works getting connected to a dedicated electricity line.
Currently, council is implementing a tight water rationing schedule with rate payers receiving potable water for less than 4 hours a day.
Meanwhile, residential areas on high ground can go for three days without the precious liquid.
The city fathers are on record attributing the water challenges to unavailability of electricity to treat and pump water due to the national load shedding by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA).
Great Zimbabwe Power Plant
Plant Engineer Austeen Chiboora said plans are afoot to ensure that the Masvingo city council’s Bushmead treatment plant will be connected to the main lines of the new plant.
Bushmead is located on the shores of Lake Mutirikwi, a few kilometers from were the hydro plant is currently being constructed.
”Once the plant is complete we will connect our power lines to Kyle substation which is just 25 km from the site of the power pant.
”Modalities are already there to ensure critical areas like the Bushmead Water Works for Masvingo City are connected on a power line.
“(This) will either feed the treatment plant while the power is being transmitted to the sub-station or they will directly get the power from sub-station which will be strategically located from the water treatment plant to ensure there is no power interruption,” Chiboora said.
The new plant is being constructed at a cost of US$14 million with funding from Old Mutual Life assurance company.
Residents Happy For A Different Reason
Local residents pressure groups have since welcomed the development, however, for a different reason.
They say availability of electricity will reveal the actual problem.
The residents have been denying that water challenges are due to unavailability of electricity.
Prosper Tiringindi Masvingo Residents Forum Secretary General said the problems at the Bushmead water works are a result of incompetence of the city fathers.
”Council has a tendency of pointing fingers on others whenever they fail to deliver.
“Each time there is a blackout in the city we are assured that the next morning they will be no water in the city.
“We had long back called for the city fathers to invest in solar energy for the water works but they failed to do so a long time ago.
“Now that this new hydro-plant has come to their rescue we want to see who else will they blame for failing to give all residential areas water 24 hours a day,” Tiringindi said.
Meanwhile, the local authority is still looking for funds to upgrade its water pumping capacity.
Currently they are pumping less than 30 mega liters of water a day against a demand of 70 mega liters.
This is as a result of the water pumping and treatment station having outlived its lifespan.
The city fathers say they need over US$20m to upgrade the water system.