26 March 2018

Mozambique: Maputo Water Crisis to Continue for a Year

Photo: Mário Macilau/WaterAid
(file photo).

This rainy season only raised the water from 19% to 25% of capacity behind the Pequenos Libombos dam, which provides water for Maputo and Matola. With careful use, that will last until the next rainy season starts in November.

The rainy season is nearly over and has been good in all parts of Mozambique except the southwest and in the watershed areas of South Africa and Swaziland, which have suffered their fourth year of drought. Aracio Tembe of the National Meterorological Institute warns that the coming year will have the El Nino phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean which causes drought in southern Africa. Helio Banze, director of ARA-Sul, the regional water administration, points to the current water crisis in Cape Town, and warns that Maputo could be next and that there must be cuts in water use, for example for gardens and car washing.

The rapid population growth of Maputo and Matola has increased water consumption at the same time as the long drought. The Moamba Maior dam was supposed to add capacity by now, but work was stopped because the Lava Jato scandal involved the main Brazilian contractor and Brazil cut the funding. A dam is being built at Corumana that should be ready in 2019, but that will require a 90 km pipeline to reach Maputo.

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