BULAWAYO, Tuesday, August 2, 1966 — Expenditure of £1 600 000 on water schemes had been recommended by the Matabeleland Development Council in the past 12 months, said Mr Cyril Targett, chairman of the council, when he addressed the Beitbridge rail link commission in Bulawayo yesterday.
Mr Targett said that the council had been allocated £3 000 000 for the development of the water resources of Matabeleland over a period of three years.
Part of the money was being, and would be, spent on the area that could well be served by a railway line from Beitbridge to West Nicholson.
The council had under examination 17 major dam sites and dealt with 50 minor schemes. One of the projects was the Oakley Block dam south of West Nicholson on the Umzingwane River which would irrigate 10 000 acres.
He said the proposed Tuli Gorge dam would also irrigate some 6 000 acres. There was another scheme for the supply of water from the Silalabuhwa dam which was under construction and this could provide further irrigation for some 20 or 30 ranches to the south of the dam.
Asked by Dr D Marais, a member of the commission, about priorities, Mr Targett said that the area south of Bulawayo had suffered from severe drought.
There had been mass immigration of cattle which had run onto millions of pounds in wastage and dying animals.
The people had also been down to starvation level. Priorities had been taken into account but the policy had been “first things first”, said Mr Targett.