Zimbabwe

‘Structural flaws led to dam collapse’

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka (left) speaks while Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Amon Murwira (second from right), University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Prof Paul Mapfumo (middle) and UZ acting general manager Agro Mr Collins Chizhande (right) during a tour of the learning institution’s thriving soya bean crop in Mazowe yesterday — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

Fungai Lupande

Mashonaland Central Bureau

The collapse of Iron Duke Kent 1 and Kent 2 dams in Mazowe on Sunday was a result of a design fault and the dams were being continuously renovated to store more water.

Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Anxious Masuka yesterday said the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) should increase monitoring and inspection of dams as required by law.

The tour enquired on why the dam walls collapsed causing downstream flooding of Mazowe River which killed one person and left several others missing.

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“We are now focusing on whether this dam can be rehabilitated so that it can be used to irrigate the current 150 hectares and increase to the potential 1 000 hectares in line with accelerated irrigation revitalisation and development strategy,” he said.

Following the land reform programme, many farmers became dam owners and Zinwa, being the country’s water resources management agency, was supposed to monitor and conduct inspections of dams.

“It was also the responsibility of private dam owners to constantly monitor and inspect their dams using approved engineers, he said.

“We are also looking at a collaborative effort with mines which use the water. We are mobilising resources for the bigger picture of Vision 2030. For the country to achieve Vision 2030, we ought to be food secure first.

“We will achieve food security first through the smallholder level, the 1,8 million households who achieve food security through conservation agriculture which we call Pfumvudza.

“In the broader scheme, we need to establish 350 000 hectares of irrigable land in the next three seasons. We need dams for the accelerated irrigable rehabilitation and revitalisation strategy.”

Zinwa chief executive Engineer Taurai Maurukira said they will up their game in maintenance and operations on both Government and privately-owned dams.

He said they were engaging Iron Duke Mine and three gold milling plants surrounding Kent 1 and Kent 2 dams for repair and restoration.

“This incident is a warning that we need to treat dam infrastructure as important structures in attaining Vision 2030 in respect of agriculture,” he said.

“The responsibility to ensure the dam is in sound condition is on the owner. Following the land reform programme, people assumed ownership because of proximity to the dam.

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“In pursuit of the Water Act, Government said those dams must be maintained and operated by Zinwa. Kent is a large dam and we needed to check on the condition of the dam and give the necessary alarms. Any warning and remedial acts could have been taken in time.”

Mr Maurukira said at full capacity the dams could irrigate 1 000 hectares of land and could be used by nearby mines.

HERALD