Cabinet has approved the roping in of State universities to help in crafting the long-awaited Tugwi-Mukosi master plan, setting the stage for full utilisation of the dam, which is expected to unlock the province’s vast agricultural potential in line with Vision 2030.
Tugwi-Mukosi has largely remained underutilised since its commissioning in 2017 and the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa is pulling all the stops to ensure the reservoir plays a leading role in engendering food sufficiency in Zimbabwe through irrigation.
Its full utilisation was being held up by the absence of a master plan, which will designate the land use pattern around the dam.
The main plan also encompasses the irrigation master plan, pinpointing areas to be irrigated using Tugwi-Mukosi water.
Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira yesterday said work on the plan was now in full swing.
“Work on the plan has now started and the universities are now officially on it after Cabinet gave the green light for them to start work,” said Minister Chadzamira.
“We are excited about the prospects of having a master plan in place as this will allow our province and the nation at large to accrue maximum benefits from the dam, which has largely remained underutilised.”
He said while work on implementation of anchor projects drawing of the dam’s master plan would pave way for its full utilisation.
“They (local universities) have indicated that they need about three to six months to complete the plan as we are very optimistic that finally our people will start to benefit from this dam.” Minister Chadzamira said that the full utilisation of Tugwi-Mukosi dovetailed with the Government’s thrust to make sure all water bodies were fully utilised to produce food and stem the runaway perennial food import bill in the era of climate change which is spawning recurrent droughts.
Experts from the country’s eminent universities namely UZ, GZU, MSU and NUST are working on the master plan.
Apart from supporting irrigation, the dam has potential to support a huge fisheries industry and also hold vast tourism potential due to its scenic topography and islands dotted around the basin. Plans are also afoot to open a dry harbour for recreational boat cruising while a mega-park stocked with the big five is set for the buffer zone.