Maputo — The Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area is suffering serious restrictions in its water supply, following major breaks in two water mains early on Saturday morning.
The mains pipes carry water from the treatment station on the Umbeluzi river to the reservoirs in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola. According to the Maputo Regional Water Company (AdeM), the pumps were ruptured when part of a metallic bridge carrying them over the Umbeluzi, in the Campoane neighbourhood of Boane district, collapsed. The reasons for the collapse are not yet known.
AdeM estimates that it will take ten days, as from Monday, to repair the bridge and the pipes. During this period there will be severe restrictions on water supply. The water in the reservoirs will be pumped on alternate days to the various neighbourhoods in Maputo, Matola and Boane.
The Minister of Public Works, Joao Machatine, visited the collapsed bridge later on Saturday, where he met with the group of four contractors who have been rapidly hired to repair the damage.
Speaking to reporters, Machatine said the collapse occurred when the pipes were fully loaded. "About 240,000 cubic metres of water were being transported", he said. "On top of this was the weight of the pipes and of the structure itself. The structure gave way and the pipes ruptured".
Under normal conditions, such an accident would force a reduction in water supply to 20 per cent of normal. But Machatine thought it would be possible to raise this to 40 per cent. He warned that this implied severe restrictions, "but within ten days the water mains will be repaired".
Machatine announced that an investigation will be held to ascertain the real causes of the collapse - particularly whether it was due to human negligence. He promised that, if so, measures will be taken against those responsible.
AdeM is calling on its clients to rationalize their use of water.