Government has roped in two of the country's biggest institutions of higher learning, Great Zimbabwe University and Midlands State University, to help in the drawing up of a master plan for the Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, in southern Masvingo.
The bringing on board of the two institutions follows growing concern over delays in producing the master plan on which irrigation development and investment in areas around the dam will be predicated.
Government has already said it is deeply concerned with delays in crafting the plan which was being done by consultants identified by the Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe.
The Technical Inter-Ministerial Task Force led by Lands, Agriculture, Climate, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri last week toured the dam where the Masvingo provincial leadership led by Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Cde Ezra Chadzamira expressed disquiet over delays in fully exploiting Tugwi-Mukosi water for the benefit of the province's populace.
Provincial Administrator Mr Fungai Mbetsa last week confirmed Government had turned to MSU and GZU to help in drawing up the master plan.
"It was agreed that the two universities (MSU and GZU) be roped in in making the master plan and that decision means the two institutions will closely work with Government through the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing's Physical Planning Department," he said.
"We hope the coming in of the two institutions will expedite the drawing up of the plan which has taken too long to complete."
The two universities had prior to the latest development been closely involved at Tugwi-Mukosi with MSU having already founded Tugwi-Mukosi Multi-Disciplinary Research Institute with a bias towards studies in area such as aquaculture, among others.
GZU was expected to come in and push research in areas such as irrigation development, particularly of sugar cane, which is expected to be one of the key crops to be grown using Tugwi-Mukosi water.
Delays in producing irrigation and investment master plans have become a source of concern with Cde Chadzamira calling on Government to speed up the process so that the people of Masvingo benefit from Tugwi-Mukosi.
Besides irrigation, Tugwi-Mukosi is primed to generate 15 megawatts of power via a planned mini-hydropower plant while the scenic topography around the dam coupled with islands ideal for building of hotels will make the water body a prime tourist attraction.
A game park is also earmarked for the reservoir's buffer zone with plans afoot to translocate game from other local habitats.