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Dams and Infrastructure: Zimbabwe

There are over 2 000 dams in the Zimbabwean portion of the Limpopo River Basin of varying sizes. Within the Upper Mzingwane and Mwenezi catchments there are 21 medium or large dams in Zimbabwe (LBPTC 2010). There are other privately owned smaller dams (heights and capacity less than 10 m and 5 Mm³, respectively) which exist in the basin but they have a negligible effect on the overall hydrology of the basin.

The total capacity of dams has fallen by about 29 Mm³ in the last three years due to siltation (FAO 2004). Currently, of the total Mean Annual Rainfall (MAR), approximately 99 % of available water is already being harnessed.

All dams in the basin in Zimbabwe are owned by the government with the exception of 3 which are owned by Bulawayo City Council (LBPTC 2010). The largest dams in the Zimbabwe portion of the Limpopo River basin are Manyuchi and Insiza.

Manyuchi Dam

Manyuchi Dam, located in the Mzenezi catchment near the northwest catchment boundary, is the largest in Zimbabwe with a full storage capacity of 309 Mm³ (LBPTC 2010). It is government owned and used primarily for irrigation. It is the 3rd largest dam in the Limpopo River basin.

Manyuchi Dam, Zimbabwe.
Source: MacVivo 2006
( click to enlarge )

 

Insiza Dam

The Insiza Dam is located the northern corner of the basin in the upper portion of the Mzingwane catchment. Built in 1973, it is the 8th largest dam in the Limpopo River basin with a storage capacity of 173 Mm³ and height of 44 meters (LBPTC 2010). It is predominantly used for irrigation and water supply.

Insiza Dam, Zimbabwe.
Source: Schaefer 2010
( click to enlarge )
Insiza Dam, Zimbabwe.
Source: Schaefer 2010
( click to enlarge )