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Following the declaration of an “orange alert” in the Umbeluzi Basin in Maputo province, the Mozambican government’s Disaster Management Technical council (CTGC) has announced increased restrictions on water supply to Maputo and Matola cities and the neighbouring town of Boane.
Water supply from the treatment and pumping station on the Umbeluzi has already been reduced by 20 per cent. As from Thursday the restrictions could be as much as 40 per cent. They will affect around 1.3 million people.
The water pumped to Greater Maputo comes from the reservoir behind the Pequenos Libombos dam. The calculation made on 2 February was that the reservoir held 76.15 million cubic metres of water. This may sound a lot, but it is only 19.8 per cent of the reservoir’s storage capacity.
Over the past three and a half years the reservoir has shrunk alarmingly. In October 2014, it was 81 per cent full, but by the end of December 2017 it had fallen to 20 per cent.
The CTGC has ordered a reduction in discharges from the Pequenos Libombos dam from the current 2.15 cubic metres a second to just 1.5 cubic metres a second. This is to ensure continuity of supply, albeit on a reduced scale, to Greater Maputo, and to avoid the danger of the reservoir drying up completely.
According to a report in Wednesday’s issue of the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the government is considering declaring that the Greater Maputo water crisis is “an emergency situation”. This measure, according to a source in the CTGC, would allow the activation of “special financial mechanisms”, and rapid access to funds from international organisations to implement mitigation procedures, and extraordinary water distribution actions.Source: AIM