24 January 2014

Mozambique: Electricity Problems Hit Beira Water Supply

Maputo — The director of the Beira branch of the Mozambican government's Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund (FIPAG), Augusto Chipenembe, has blamed the city's unstable electricity supply for problems in the distribution of water in Beira and in Dondo, 30 kilometres to the west.

Cited in the Beira daily paper “Diario de Mocambique”, Chipenembe said the situation is made worse by the fact that FIPAG has no emergency generator. Nor does it possess large enough reservoirs in the Beira and Dondo distribution centres capable of continuing to guarantee water supplies in the event of a lengthy cut.

He told reporters “there have been many restrictions on the supply of drinking water because of problems to do with electricity. There have been constant oscillations and power cuts, and this does not permit the full functioning of our system”.

For four months, FIPAG has faced an unstable electricity supply, which has seriously affected the complex system which takes water from the treatment and pumping station at Mutua. This water has a long way to travel - Mutua is 55 kilometres from Beira.

If there is a stoppage for more than two hours, said Chipenembe, it can take several days for the system to return to normal.

No solution is envisaged in the short term, and Chipenembe warned that the coming days are likely to be “problematic” in terms of water supply.

He urged residents of Beira and Dondo to keep their own reserves of water, “because, with this quality of electricity, we cannot guarantee full supplies of water”.

The eventual solution will be an electricity transmission line for Mutua which will ensure good quality power. Chipenembe preferred this option to the acquisition of a large and very expensive generator.

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