Government is finalising irrigation masterplans for several dams, which will direct the cropping models to be executed under the irrigation schemes.Over 10 000 hectares of land adjacent to the Gwayi Shangani Dam in Matabeleland North, which is nearing completion, is being cleared to make way for an extensive irrigation scheme, while over 2 250 hectares of land near the recently commissioned Muchekeranwa Dam is also being prepared.Nearly 1 250 hectares is being cleared in Buhera close to Marovanyati Dam.
Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Settlement was given three seasons to complete the national irrigation programme meant to insulate the country against food insecurity.WORK has begun on clearing nearly 13 000 hectares of land near newly-completed dams countrywide to make way for the establishment of expansive irrigation schemes in a move meant to climate-proof agriculture and guarantee national food security.
Government is also finalising irrigation masterplans for several dams, which will direct the cropping models to be executed under the irrigation schemes.
This comes as there has been improved potable water supply in some areas which are close to recently the commissioned water bodies.
Chief director in the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Engineer Tinayeshe Mutazu said land clearance will be completed ahead of next year’s summer cropping season.
“We have started developing the masterplans of the two dams, Marovanyati and Muchekeranwa. However, going forward, we will ensure that irrigation masterplans are ready when a dam is commissioned.
“This is what we will be doing for Gwayi Shangani dam.
“For Gwayi Shangani, we already know that we are going to have 10 000 hectares of land under irrigation even before the water is distributed to Bulawayo.
“Muchekeranwa Dam will irrigate about 2 250 hectares, equally divided between Makoni (Manicaland Province) and Marondera (Mashonaland East Province.)
“For Marovanyati we are clearing 1 250 hectares of land, which will be used for irrigation. However, we are still at the inception stage so we hope to start cropping next year.”
Eng Mutazu said the new dams are set to help improve potable water availability in towns and settlements close to the water bodies.
“There is already an increase in the water supply at Murambinda because now over nine mega-litres of water are being pumped from Marovanyati Dam daily.
“This is a huge increase from what was being pumped initially,” he said.
“We are going to convey part of the Muchekeranwa dam to Wenembi Dam which is currently supplying Rufaro and Nyambiya areas.
“We are hoping that by doing so we will also be depositing water into Nora Dam, which will eventually supply water to Ruwa, Mabvuku, Tafara and some eastern areas in Harare.
“This will be a medium-term intervention while the Government builds the Kunzvi dam for greater Harare.”