By Gay Matambo
THE construction of the Great Zimbabwe Hydro power project at Lake Mutirikwi in Masvingo Province is progressing well with works expected to be complete in July next year.
The US$14 million mini-hydro power project at Lake Mutirikwi has created employment for more than 100 locals, and is expected to produce five megawatts of electricity that will be added to the national grid.
During a tour of the construction works at Lake Mutirikwi recently, Great Zimbabwe Hydro Power Project Manager, Engineer Osteen Chiboora said the project is being implemented in three phases.
He said the first phase will see the construction of a 0, 8 km access road which is expected to be complete this month.
“We are going to be putting up our substation 25kms from the site. We are also going to do our power lines, interface connections and our powerhouse connections. We have 2.5 megawatts called Francis turnings which we are going to be putting up with a capacity to produce 5 megawatts. We have about 170 people who have been employed by a local contractor called GR Gordad. 10 percent of those people are locals. We have also started community development projects were we are engaging the community through the councillors and other stakeholders to see how we can assist in developing the community,” he said.
Similar hydro power projects at Tugwi Mukosi and Manjirenji dams are on the cards as part of efforts to enhance access to electricity by both rural and urban communities in the province, as explained by Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Ezra Chadzamira.
“The devolution policy stipulates that every project in the province will benefit communities first and this project will assist the province because as a whole, it needs plus or minus 22 megawatts of electricity so the coming in of Mutirikwi Hydro power project and also the Tugwi Mukosi which will produce about 17 megawatts and Manjirenji dam which can produce about 3 megawatts will alleviate power shortages in Masvingo,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is on a drive to produce 2 000 megawatts from renewable energy sources by 2030.