Tuli-Manyange Dam construction gives fresh hope to thirsty villagers

25 Dec, 2022 - 00:12 0 Views
Tuli-Manyange Dam construction gives fresh hope to thirsty villagers Tuli Manyange dam wall site

The Sunday News

Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday News Reporter 

WITH the construction of the Tuli-Manyange Dam in Gwanda District, Matabeleland South now 33 percent complete, villagers in surrounding areas are upbeat that the dam will finally put an end to their water woes and spur economic activity and growth while resolving food insecurity.

Once complete, Tuli-Manyange, which has a holding capacity of 35 million cubic metres, is expected to provide raw water for irrigation purposes, boosting food security in Matabeleland South. 

The dam, which is expected to be complete by December 2023, is set to provide relief to Matabeleland South, a province usually characterised by low annual rainfall patterns, which have eroded the sustenance capabilities of most households. 

Thus, the construction of Tuli-Manyange dove-tails with the Second Republic’s goal to build new water bodies that will support the switch from rain-fed agriculture and help food-insecure communities through provision of water for both irrigation and fisheries. 

At least 2 000 hectares of land will be put under irrigation once the project is complete and the dam will service Vela, Guyu Business Centre, Ntalale Business Centre, Chelesa Business Centre, Sizhubane Barracks, Manama Mission and Business Centre, Sebasa and Mankonkoni irrigation schemes. 

Tuli Manyange dam wall site

The project is implemented by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) while China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) have been contracted to do civil works. 

Mrs Marjorie Munyonga, Zinwa corporate communications and marketing manager revealed to Sunday News that steady progress was being made on the construction of the dam, with 1,79 billion allocated for its construction by the 2023 national budget. 

“The construction of Thuli-Manyange Dam in Gwanda District has been progressing well and the project was allocated ZWL1,79 billion in the 2023 budget. The dam is now 33 percent complete,” she said.

Mrs Munyonga said construction of the coffer dams at the sight was now complete. A coffer dam is a temporary barrier in or around a body of water which allows the process of de-watering, diversion, or damming of water within an enclosed area. 

The major purpose of any cofferdam type is to hold back overwhelming or inconvenient waters and create a dry work environment, thus allows a project to proceed with as little resistance and as much safety as possible. 

“The construction of the coffer dam is now complete and the coffer dam is already supplying water to the construction site and surrounding communities. Main dam foundations excavations are in progress and are now 70 percent complete while two investigation shafts have since been plugged. Also underway is the marking of the dam’s high flood level on both the left and right banks. The marking is now at 60 percent with the construction of access roads also nearing completion at 80 percent. The excavation of saddle dams 1 and 2 cut-off trenches is now complete, so is the grouting of both saddle dams. A total of 12 000 cubic metres of concrete aggregates and 20 000 cubic meters of river sand have been stockpiled in anticipation of concrete works,” she said. 

Tuli-Manyange Dam site in Ntalale, Gwanda District

With steady progress being recorded at the construction site, villagers in nearby Vela expressed hope that the construction of the dam would bring unprecedented development to an arid area, where even getting drinking water is an uphill task. 

In an interview, Ms Daisy Nxumalo, who lives in nearby Vela Village, expresed hope that the construction of the dam would help change their fortunes, which had seen them lag behind other villages in terms of development. 

“As villagers, our wish is that, we could also get piped water because we have always relied on Tuli to give us water for our daily sustenance. However, as things stand, there is construction taking place and with pipe and other equipment installed there, the water is not necessarily safe for us anymore. 

“Our wish is to have water brought to us as well so that we can also start our projects and rear livestock like other places. If you look at most areas nearby, there are projects but Vela doesn’t have any and that is all linked to water. Our wish is that when the dam project finishes, we can also start having horticultural projects so we can grow food that can build both ourselves and families,” she said.

Mrs Nxumalo said the shortage of clean water had even seen teachers desert nearby schools. 

“We are facing a variety of challenges due to a lack of clean water because even our teachers are running away from us because of a lack of reliable water supplies. They are getting water from Tuli as well, which for them is very far. We have boreholes but we can only draw water from them as from December. As soon as we get to September, the boreholes would have dried out so who gets or doesn’t get water in that case becomes a lottery,” she said. 

Another villager, Mr Nalk Masuku, urged authorities to put their shoulders to the wheel as their future depended on the Tuli-Manyange Dam becoming a success story. 

“We want the dam built and finished so that people can earn some sort of livelihood from it. We want to be involved in irrigation like others and we have livestock that is also in dire need of water. This project is of immense value to us as people here and we have pinned our hopes on it. Every brick laid brings fresh hope for us and that is why all our eyes are on developments taking place there,” he said. 

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