Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Tokwe Mukosi breathes new life into Lowveld

Tokwe Mukosi breathes new life into Lowveld
Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri

Minister Muchinguri-Kashiri

From Hazvinei Mwanaka in Masvingo
THE Zimbabwean Government has been hailed for completing an inland lake with a capacity to carry 1,8 billion cubic metres of water in the semi-arid southern part of the country.

Built at a cost of nearly $300 million, the giant Tokwe Mukosi is a rare success story for a country which has been reeling from sanctions imposed by the West.

Chivi Rural District Council chief executive officer Mr Tariro Matavire noted the completion of the dam would create immense business opportunities for the rural backwater.

“The project will see an increase in revenue as hotels and chalets will be constructed around the dam. Boat cruising will be available and the presence of a lot of wild animals roaming around the dam will also see an increase in tourists,” said Mr Matavire.

“Communities will also benefit through employment as there will be many activities.”

Mr Nkulumani Mlambo, a member of Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Masvingo chapter, said the construction of the dam would increase food security in the region.

“Now that the dam is complete, there will be irrigation throughout the year and farmers will have to take advantage of that and engage in horticultural projects,” he said.

Residents lobby group, the Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA), also welcomed the completion of the dam.

The lake, which replaces Mutirikwi Dam as the country’s biggest inland lake, is expected to have far-reaching benefits for Zimbabwe which has adopted the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), an economic blueprint which seeks to reposition the country as one of the strongest economies in the region and Africa.

It will boost sugar production in the Lowveld where supply dams’ capacity to sustain sugarcane irrigation at Hippo Valley, Triangle and Mkwasine Estates in the region had been severely compromised by the incessant droughts the country experienced in recent years.

Commissioning the dam recently, Minister of Environment, Water and Climate Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri said sugar industries in the Lowveld and other surrounding communities also stood to benefit from the project.

“With a capacity of 1,8 million cubic metres of water, we expect an additional 26 000 hectares of irrigated land to be brought on board in the Lowveld,” she said.

“The additional 26 000 hectares of irrigation land represent almost half of the current land under irrigation in the Lowveld and will certainly see the country’s sugar output increasing as well as employment creation and improved food security.”

She also announced plans to establish a 15-megawatt mini-hydropower plant, noting that Zinwa had started the process of getting investors to partner in the mini-hydro business at the dam.

“The provision of mini-hydropower plants at our dams is a deliberate move that the ministry, through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), has adopted to ensure that our dams also help in ameliorating the power challenges the country is currently going through,” she said.

A project officer with the ZERO Environmental Organisation, Mr Wellington Madumira, said the 15-megawatt mini-hydro power plant was commendable.

“Hydropower is smart and friendly and does not emit fossil fuels. Community members will benefit as some will be capacitated on maintenance of the system, public institutions will be electrified therefore improving education and health services in the area,” he said.

He added that the dam could also be used as a source of water for livestock. Communities could also initiate projects that will go a long way in bettering their lives.

The idea of constructing the giant water reservoir, which will transform the Lowveld into a greenbelt, was mooted decades ago by the British colonial government of Rhodesia.

However, earthmoving equipment only started clearing the bush downstream the confluence of Tokwe and Mukosi rivers in Masvingo Province in June 1988 but it was not smooth sailing as work was frequently suspended due to shortage of funds.

The dam wall comprises rockfills laid down on top of each other without mortar or cement to hold them, going up to 90 metres.

Its original design — a concrete arch dam wall with a crest overflow designed by Coyne and Bellier in 1967 — was abandoned due to the costs associated with such a structure. — CAJ News.


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