VILLAGERS in the Gungwe area in Gwanda District have called on Government to expedite efforts to repair the Gungwe Dam wall which was destroyed by floods about five years ago.

Matanangombe, Nkanini-Mandihongola, Mapate, Makokwe and Malipulihula dams, which were major sources of water for communities, also burst walls during the same period.

Gungwe Dam sustained about 15 villages and people now rely on the Tuli River to water their livestock.

Since the dam wall burst, villagers have been experiencing serious water challenges.

Villagers said their livestock now travel long distances to access water, which exposes cattle to rustlers.

Mr Hosesilasi Ndlovu from Gungwe Village said they did not have alternative water sources close by and desperately needed the dam wall to be repaired.

"This dam burst is not new, it once happened during the 1970s. Termites are the main cause of these bursts because they drill holes within the dam wall and then water fills up these holes leading to cracks.

"Members of the community have tried to gather resources for the reconstruction of the dam wall but failed hence we are appealing to the Government or NGOs to come to our rescue," said Mr Ndlovu.

Another villager said they were buying vegetables and tomatoes which they used to grow under irrigation.

"Gungwe Dam used to sustain our livelihoods as we all depended on it.  Now we are struggling to access water for both domestic and for our livestock. The water table is very low because the dam which used to sustain our boreholes is now dry."

DDF Matabeleland South provincial coordinator Mr Moment Malandu said plans were underway to repair the dam wall.

"We're going there next week to do an assessment and then appeal for funding from Government and the WASH sector. We're aware of the problem and I'll only be able to share more after our assessment," said Mr Malandu.

Meanwhile, the completion of the construction of Tuli-Manyange Dam is expected to address the perennial water problems in Gwanda District.

Once complete, the 35 million cubic metre-dam is expected to provide irrigation water for communities in Gwanda, which will boost food security.

The dam is yet another milestone under the Second Republic in improving the livelihoods of rural communities as it will provide raw water for irrigation.

It is envisaged that once Tuli-Manyange Dam is complete, at least 2 000 hectares will be put under irrigation.

The dam is also set to serve Vela, Guyu Business Centre, Ntalale Business Centre, Chelesa Business Centre, Sizhubane Barracks, Manama Mission and Business Centre, Sebasa and Mankonkoni irrigation schemes.

The project is being spearheaded by Zinwa while China International Water and Electric Corporation (CWE) was contracted to build the dam.

Source - The Chronicle