Mozambique: New Water Treatment Station Will Ease Restrictions

Maputo — Moamba (Mozambique), 3 Jun (AIM) - Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday said that the new and modern water treatment plant, inaugurated in Moamba district, about 60 kilometres northwest of the capital, will reduce restrictions on the water supply to the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area.

The new and modern water system, which cost 173 million US dollars, disbursed by the World Bank, includes a 95 kilometre water pipeline from the reservoir behind the Corumana dam to Machava, in the city of Matola, plus the 18 kilometre extension to distribution centres in Mathlemele and Guava neighbourhoods, which will be operational within the next few days.

With a capacity to produce 60,000 cubic metres of water a day, which will double when the second phase is concluded by September, the system will enable 360 kilometres of extensions to the distribution network and 100,000 new domestic connections of which 66,000 have already been concluded. The system will provide about 650,000 consumers with access to drinking water.

The infrastructure will alleviate drinking water shortages in the Greater Maputo area, and expand water supply to other residential areas in Maputo province, including Corumana, Sabie, Pessene and Moamba town.

Addressing the ceremony, Nyusi said that, with the new infrastructure, the Greater Maputo area will have drinking water through the year, reducing the need for restrictions on supply. These restrictions were necessary due to the low level of water in the Pequenos Libombos reservoir, which provides the water that flows through the pumping and treatment station on the Umbeluzi river. This was the main source of water for Maputo, but it had proved increasingly unable to cope with the growth in Maputo's population and the demand from industry.

"This is an important investment which will improve the living standards of the population, but we will keep on developing alternative sources of water, including the expansion of boreholes in some neighbourhoods in Greater Maputo," Nyusi declared, adding that water provision will be solved for up to 80 per cent of the population of the metropolitan area,

The government, Nyusi pointed out, is aware of the long path that must still be travelled meet water needs across the country, but he pledged to keep on working relentlessly to create conditions to ensure that more and more Mozambicans, companies, schools, hospitals, services, communities, villages and towns have access to water and adequate sanitation.

Nyusi pointed, as an example, to the outcome of the "Water for Life Programme" (PRAVIDA) which, in its first phase, has benefited about 1.7 million people across the country.

For the second phase, the government will mobilise investments, including from the private sector, to expand water coverage by 2024. "We want to increase the water supply service from 52 to 70 per cent of the population in the rural areas and from 73 to 90 per cent in the urban areas," he said, stressing that the government wants to ensure access to clean drinking water for as many people as possible.

Nyusi also urged the management teams to take good care of the modern infrastructure fed by the River Sabie, a tributary of the Incomati which flows into Mozambique from South Africa and has fewer water scarcity problems than the Umbeluzi.

The representative of the World Bank at the ceremony, Michel Matera, said that the new water plant will increase both the reliability and safety of water provision as well as complementing the services provided by the Umbeluzi treatment station.

Quoting the Ministry of Public Works, Matera said the water plant will ensure supply to Greater Maputo over the coming years; however he stressed the need to keep on planning future investments to answer the increasing demand, including those intended to ensure a duplication of the plant's capacity.

Public Works Minister Joao Machatine declared that the Sabie Water Treatment Station "allows the provision of water 24 hours a day", but that was no reason to waste water.

"We want the practice, acquired over the past five years, of water rationalisation, to prevail", he added, stressing the need to economise on the use of water.

"When a product is abundant, there is a tendency to waste it", said Machatine. So supply restrictions would continue "so that people continue to use water rationally, and not because there is no capacity to provide it".

Machatine also dismissed fears that the price of water will rise immediately, following Tuesday's government approval of revised water tariffs. Any price increase would depend "on the economic conjuncture of the country".

"The government approved a formula which makes it possible to index automatically water tariffs, faced with the economic conjunctures of the moment", he said. "That's no different from what we have already been doing when we increase water tariffs. But this time it will be on the basis of a formula that grants more autonomy to the water regulatory authorities to alter the tariffs in accordance with macro-economic indicators".

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