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Maguga damm, on the Komati River in Eswatini. [File photo (for illustration purposes only): thekingdomofeswatini.com]
The Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) will open the sluices of the dam on the River Umbeluzi* and provide Maputo province with 18,000,000 cubic metres of water by the end of the month, Mozambique’s government said on Friday.
The announcement was made this Wednesday in Maputo by Minister of Public Works, Housing and Water Resources, João Machatine, who last week held a meeting in eSwatini with the country’s minister of Tourism and the Environment.
“The kingdom of eSwatini began releasing seven cubic metres of water a second, which, after 30 days, will raise levels in the Pequenos Libombos dam [in Mozambique] to over 18,000,000 cubic metres, or 34% of its capacity,” said minister João Machatine, quoted by today’s ‘Noticias’ newspaper,
“The understanding reached by the two ministers will be operationalised and soon result in an increase in the supply of water to our reservoir. But I would like to take this opportunity to say that, however much we are able to achieve this desirable outcome, it is important we continue to rationalise water consumption, because water scarcity is not a one-off situation – it has come to stay,” Minister Machatine stressed.
João Machatine travelled to Mbabane to follow up on talks between the President Nyusi and the king of eSwatini on the implementation of the Umbeluzi Basin Sharing Agreement.
The minister said that the water from eSwantini would allow the Mozambican dam to satisfy 100% of Maputo province’s water demand.
The decision by eSwatini comes after a commitment reached by Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi and King Mswati III in March.
Maputo province has been facing water shortage’s for the last five years as a result of cyclic droughts affecting the south of the country and leaving only intermittent supplies.
*Mbuluzi River ( also known as iMbuluzi or Umbeluzi) is one of the main rivers of Eswatini. There are two sources of the river, one in the Highveld north of Mbabane forming the Black Mbuluzi and one in the Middleveld near Manzini forming the White Mbuluzi or imbuluzane. The river flows through the northeast of Eswatini especially through Hlane Royal National Park and Shewula Nature Reserve. The main dam fed by the river in Swaziland is the Mnjoli dam which is located not far from the sugar plantations of Mhlume. In Mozambique it becomes Umbeluzi feeding water to the Pequenos Libombos dam and ends at the Maputo Bay.
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