Golden Sibanda and Ishemunyoro Chingwere
The Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) now needs $48 million to finance construction of the Deka Water Pipeline project, which supplies cooling water to Hwange Power Station, after an independent review of the project upgraded the budget from the initial $28 million.
ZPC had been working to upgrade the old Deka water pipeline’s low and high lift pumps and thereafter lay a new pipeline to draw water from the Zambezi River to Hwange Power Station. India Eximbank agreed to fund the project.
Hwange Power Station will require significantly more water and a more efficient transportation system to draw the water from the Zambezi River given that ongoing efforts to expand the 920MW plant by a further 600MW at a cost of $1,4 billion will increase demand for water.
According to ZPC acting managing director Patrick Chivaura, the revised budget came after ZPC requested additional funding of $5 million, after the only company that responded to the project tender had quoted $33 million instead of the initially budgeted $28 million
The Indian Eximbank later ordered for an independent review by Indian company Mahindra, which upgraded the estimated project cost to a higher figure of $43 million.
Eng Chivaura said that the latest development will require ZPC to refloat the tender for Deka pipeline project.
“A study was done first, which came up with an estimate of $28 million. On the basis of that, we went out to tender; when the tender was responded to we only got one response and when that response came, it quoted a price of $33 million, so we then tried to apply to Indian Eximbank to raise the money to match the $33 million.
The ZPC boss made the remarks after a training session for ZPC staff and engineers on efficient operation, care and maintenance of the Hwange Power Station, which was conducted in the mining town by Indian company, Wapcos.
A total of 100 ZPC staffers have so far been trained and the current class has 44 candidates that are undergoing training.
Eng. Chivaura said that the State power utility acknowledged the new price, but will not straight away run with the figure, instead, the company would retender the project using the background information already gathered.
“As such, the pre-qualifications have already been done by Indian Eximbank and the financier now wants a competitive bidding to take place, that is where it is,” he said.
The Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) will handle the fresh tender Deka pipeline tender process, but it remains unclear how long this will take. The 42-kilometre Deka water pipeline draws raw water from the mighty Zambezi River into two reservoirs with capacity of 150 000m³ each supplying water into Hwange Power Station for cooling during electricity generation.
The pipeline also supplies drinking water for the surrounding Ingagula community. However, the pumping system has over the years deteriorated, resulting in poor water supplies to the Hwange power plant and the water treatment plant, critical for power production. The Hwange Power Station currently requires about 3 500m³ of raw water per hour and this may increase to about 6 000m³/hr when the expansion units come into operation.