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Irrigation Development

At the commencement of the project, there was a complete overhaul to the irrigation facilities on both estates including de-cluttering existing canals, applying concrete in order to seal leakages induced by disuse and erecting new canals and pumps at the existing pump stations.

This resulted in huge infrastructure rehabilitation and development on both the Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi Estates.

Water is drawn from the Save River, which is fed by a number of inland dams, the largest of which include Osborne, Rusapi, Ruti and Syia dams.  The Save has an upstream catchment area of 40,000 sq km and generates 3.6 million megalitres of runoff annually, enough to irrigate 30,000 hectares of sugarcane.

In addition, plans are in place for the construction of an additional catchment dam, Condo Dam, which will increase the irrigation capacity of the Save to a total of 90,000ha.

To ensure that water is not wasted but applied evenly, fields have been levelled using the latest GPS land levelling systems and we recycle all of our drainage/tail water.


In Chisumbanje, water is pumped from the Save River and fed into a canal conveyance system which carries the water to the flood irrigated fields, some of which utilize large diameter lay flat pipes.  Several large storage dams have been put in place to assist with the irrigation requirements and several additional sites are awaiting development.

Chisumbanje is ideally suited for flood irrigation with a natural network of drainage lines from the basis of the drainage system. The heavy vertisol clay soils in Chisumbanje have a high water holding capacity (250mm)which boosts irrigation efficiency and water conservation.

Middle Sabi

In Middle Sabi, water is drawn from the main supply canal using high-pressure pumps for transmission by underground piping to a highly efficient centre pivot irrigation system which assists with water conservation.