Water, climate and environmental experts say failure by the nation to fully utilise the abundant dam infrastructure dotted around the country, lack of consistent monitoring and evaluation of projects around these facilities as well as their maintenance highlight some of the challenges being faced in harnessing benefits from the country’s mega water projects.

The completion of Tokwe Mukosi mega dam is a positive addition to the over 10 000 in-land dams in Zimbabwe.

Concern has, however, been raised that most dams namely Osrbone, Manyuchi, Kyle, Mutirikwi, Darwendale and Mazvikadei to mention but a few, are not being fully utilised.

Director Water Resources Planning and Management in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate Mr Tinayeshe Mutazu says siltation as a result of riverbank cultivation and overgrasing by communities around some of the water bodies remain a major challenge countrywide.

Regional Environment Organisation executive director Mr Sherpard Zvigadza says extreme weather events such as flooding calls for climate change resilient infrastructure to avoid this season’s disaster which saw a number of dams bursting and some being swept away.

Action 24 Projects and research specialist Mr Philip Mudavanhu believes Zimbabweans need to celebrate Tokwe Mukosi mega project and its benefit with a vision to set up and implement irrigation schemes, tourism and water activities and employment creation for the benefit of the nation.

He says implementation has over the years been a problem despite brilliant plans on the ground for the full utilisation of water from the dams.

Adherence to regular dam maintenance, good environmental and agricultural practices by avoiding deforestation, land degradation, overgrazing, riverbank and stream bank cultivation are crucial if the nation is to reap long term benefits from mega dam projects such as Tokwe Mukosi.