By Correspondent

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has ignored the urgent Bulawayo water crisis by allocating a paltry 17% towards dam construction.

The presented budget states that government will allocate a total of Z$369 billion for the construction of all dams and pipelines in Zimbabwe next year.

The figure translates to US$67 million.

However, Bulawayo alone requires over US$400 million for the construction of the Gwayi-Shangaan pipeline.

6 More Years

However, Bulawayo Mayor David Coltart says even if all these funds are funnelled to the city it will take over 6 years to finish the project.

“Accordingly if every single cent of this budget allocation is applied to the pipeline alone it will still take almost 6 years to complete at this rate.

“Obviously it will be much longer than this because the Z$369 billion is the total applied for all dam projects.

“Bulawayo simply cannot wait another decade or more”, he said.

Bulawayo engineers have insisted that the short term water solution requires duplicating the pipelines.

They will go from Insiza and Mtshabezi dams to Ncema purification works.

The city will also have to build Glassblock dam.

Total cost for the dam will be half the cost of the Gwaai Shangani/Bulawayo pipeline.

Bulawayo is facing an acute water crisis with supplies available to cover for only 6 months.

Dam Completion

However, Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) spokesperson Marjorie Munyonga says the project is close to completion.

The Gwayi-Shangani Dam is at 70,2% completion,” Manyonga said.

“We do not have a set deadline at the moment but we are working with the mandates that we had from the beginning.”

The dam, forms the first phase of the National Matabeleland – Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).

It will have a capacity to irrigate up to 10 000 hectares and support fish farming.

The second phase of NMZWP entails the construction of a 251km pipeline to take water from the dam to Bulawayo.

The third and final stage will be the construction of a 122km pipeline from the Zambezi River to link the Gwayi-Shangani Pipeline.

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