Samuel Kadungure Senior Reporter
THE vision to turn the land downstream the recently completed Marowanyati Dam in Buhera into a greenbelt is nearing fruition as land clearance to establish the first 100 hectares irrigation scheme is in progress. The dam is located on the Mwerahari River, a perennial stream with an annual flow of 182 million litres.
With this water channelled towards irrigation, the resource will be adequate to transform the lives of the nearby agricultural communities.
The scarcity of water in the district has been accelerated by erratic rainfall patterns and climatic changes.
These has brought with it various socio-economic problems for the community.
Marovanyati Dam construction commenced in November 2003 and was expected to have been completed by 2009.
However, construction was suspended in November 2007 due to lack of funding.
As part of the devolution agenda, its completion has been fast-tracked by President Mnangagwa’s administration as a way of bolstering access to irrigation water and cushioning communities against the effects of climate change.
The dam will provide water for aquaculture, irrigation of 2 500ha of agricultural land, industrial purposes and livestock drinking.
Supplies of Murambinda Growth Point’s reticulated water will also come from the dam.
Its construction means improved water availability to enable the drought-prone area to establish gardens to address food security and nutritional needs.
Recreational infrastructure will also be established, with activities around the gigantic water reservoir expected to boost revenues for Murambinda Growth Point, which is eyeing town status.
The expansion of Murambinda into a town will see the population growing.
There will be a corresponding increase in demand for water and therefore the timing of the project is perfect.
Four irrigation projects are expected to take shape in the near future and this will create employment, improve food security and help in slowing down rural to urban migration.
One of these projects – the Murambinda B Irrigation Project – is being implemented by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and the Department of Irrigation.
Current works include the construction of water conveyance canals and a total of 5km in-field canals.
The irrigation project is expected to benefit more than 200 plot holders.
Zinwa’s Engineer Alois Katsande confirmed the development, adding that Marowanyati Dam, which has a storage capacity of 50 million litres, will provide sufficient water to revolutionise agricultural development in the district.
“Intended beneficiaries of this project have been doing dry-land farming.
The area has good red soils but poor rains have been making it impossible for the community to harvest meaningfully.
“It has been recommended that each beneficiary should have half a hectare under irrigation, so more than 200 plot holders will benefit from this scheme,” said Eng Katsande.
“We have already cleared 2,8km of the main canal plus about 5km of the in-field canal routes for the 100ha scheme.
“Some of the fields had thick bushes and these have been cleared.
The next phase will see the construction of canals,” revealed Eng Katsande.
Buhera falls under geological region five, with farmers often growing drought-resistant crops such as round and groundnuts, rapoko and sorghum.
Of late, most of the crops were being written-off due to prolonged dry spells.