Dams breathe life into economy

02 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Dams breathe life into economy President Emmerson Mnangagwa commissioned the Muchekeranwa Dam in 2021 and launched the Presidential Community Fisheries Scheme, a spin-off of the massive dam which is benefitting the people Manicaland and Mashonaland East Provinces. − Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

The ManicaPost


Samuel Kadungure
Senior Reporter


MANICALAND depends mostly on rivers, dams and underground water for its water supply as it no longer receive rains of more than 500mm per year.


This makes it one of the driest regions in the country, a situation that calls for the construction of more dams to make sure that the province has adequate water for domestic and industrial use, to produce hydro-power, to support the irrigation systems to grow food and livestock, for fish farming and for recreational activities.


Thus, the centrality of water in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be overstated considering its contribution to various economic sectors like agriculture, energy, health, manufacturing and processing, fisheries, tourism and others.


In light of this, the Second Republic fast-tracked the construction of Marovanyati Dam in Buhera and Muchekeranwa Dam, bordering Makoni District and Mashonaland East, to set the province on a solid development trajectory.


The dams are climate-proofing agriculture and reducing heavy reliance on rain-fed farming, which has always been a recipe for disaster during droughts.


Indeed, water scarcity has a huge impact on food production.


It is an indispensable ingredient to agricultural production, and without water, farmers cannot grow crops and feed their animals.


Water security translates to food security.


Dam construction is thus crucial for the province, whose economy is agro-based.


Marovanyati was fast-tracked to completion by the Second Republic between 2017 and 2020 as part of the strategic and wider effort to foster reliable access to irrigation water for communities where the impact of climate change is being strongly felt.


After 10 years of stagnation under the First Republic, the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa allocated funding for the dam’s construction.


The total cost of the project was US$33 251 852.


The multi-purpose reservoir has a storage capacity of 50 million litres, a capacity that will increase as the dam matures and will provide sufficient water to ameliorate industrial and agricultural development in the district.


The dam has the potential to transform and support the lives of families and agricultural communities that live along its banks.


Marovanyati Dam is located on the Mwerihari River, with an annual flow of 182 million litres.


Marovanyati provides water for domestic and industrial for Murambinda Town Board, Dorowa Mine, Sabi Star Lithium Mine and irrigation water for surrounding communities.


The growth of Murambinda Town Centre, which was given town board status in 2022, will not encounter obstacles in the near future due to the availability of water.



Brick upon brick, Zimbabwe is developing

Brick upon brick, Zimbabwe is developing

Government has also set aside $406 million for the development of a commercially-run centre pivot irrigation system downstream the dam as part of the rural transformation strategy.


The first phase will see two irrigation schemes — Guwanda (100ha) and Kwarire (400ha) being prioritised this year.


The other projects under Marowanyati include Muguta, Chipudzana, St Alban’s, Nyashanu and Bhidhiri-Chiwenga.


In the long term, 1 250 hectares of agricultural land will be put under centre pivot irrigation to improve food and nutritional security, create employment and transform livelihoods in the drought-stricken district.


On the other hand, the construction of Muchekeranwa, formerly known as Causeway Dam, started in 2016 and was completed in December 2020.


Muchekeranwa is located across Macheke River, a major tributary of Save River.


It has a carrying capacity of 75 000 000 cubic metres and will irrigate about 2 250 hectares, equally divided between Makoni and Marondera.


In Makoni, the dam will target small-holder, commercial farmers, Chiduku-Ngowe (44ha) and Romsely (500ha) irrigation schemes, with the aim of sustaining agricultural projects to provide sound footing for sustained economic growth and development.


The dam also hosts the Presidential Community Fisheries Scheme.


Commercial farmers in Makoni started fully utilising water from the dam in 2021, and has since then contributed significantly to Manicaland attaining its 9 500ha wheat target, with 5 200ha being planted by farmers in Makoni, most of whom draw irrigating water from the dam.


Mr Denford Mutwiwa, who became the first farmer to draw irrigation water from the dam, now plants all year round.


“When the dam was completed, we swiftly put an irrigation mainline to all the fields. The irrigation network has 7kmx25mm PVC pipes pumped by a 120 horse-power pump. We can now plant up to 500ha at a go since all the fields are under centre pivots. All together, we have 10 centre pivots which can irrigate between 10 and 55ha. The dam has given us access to plenty of water,” he said.


Another farmer, Mr Zvikomborero Nyabadza, installed a 12km pipeline to draw water from the dam to his Moresta Farm.


These projects were designed to enhance rural health standards, improve living standards and promote income-generating activities in line with the development priorities expressed in the National Development Strategy (NDS1).


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