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Work on the project to improve the water supply for the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area, by channelling water to the capital from the Corumana dam, on the Sabie river, is now 89 per cent complete – but, according to Public Works Minister Joao Machatine, everything now depends on building a new water treatment station in Moamba district, north of Maputo.
The project, financed by the World Bank and the French and Dutch governments, cost more than 200 million US dollars. It consists of building a water main that can transport 120,000 cubic metres of water a day from Corumana to the distribution centre at Machava. This will almost double the current capacity of the Greater Maputo water supply system, which relies on the Pequenos Libombos dam, on the Umbeluzi river.
The total length of the new mains pipe is 95 kilometres. Four new distribution centres will be built, and an additional 360 kilometres of distribution network, providing an extra 120,000 home water connections.
The Pequenos Libombos reservoir has been at worryingly low levels since January 2017, and this year it was feared that it might dry up altogether. A rationing system was introduced whereby each neighbourhood in Maputo, the neighbouring city of Matola and the town of Boane only received water every other day. Unexpectedly heavy rains in March and April pushed the level of the reservoir up to about 30 per cent, and the rationing system was suspended.
But the pipeline from Corumana is seen as the solution. It should raise water coverage from the current 57 per cent of the population of the Greater Maputo region to 65 per cent by 2025.
The new mains pipe has been installed, and the engineering work to carry it across the Incomati and Matola rivers, and across roads and railways has been completed. Pressure tests are now under way and are 90 per cent complete.
Machatine, who visited the Corumana dam with World Bank country director Mark Lundell on Thursday, said the process of selecting a contractor to build the water treatment station is now under way. Once the contractor starts work, probably in July, it will be around 20 months before the treatment station is ready.
Machatine recognised that 20 months is a long time, given the precarious state of Maputo’s water supply. He said emergency work is under way to open and reactivate boreholes that will add 12,000 cubic metres a day to the Greater Maputo water supply.
The Corumana dam itself will benefit from the installation of six floodgates, to increase the reservoir’s storage capacity from the current 700 billion cubic metres to double that amount. It will take 18 months to install the floodgates once a contractor has been chosen.
The poor rainfall in the far south of Mozambique has affected Corumana as well the Pequenos Libombos dam. Currently the Corumana reservoir is holding half its theoretical storage capacity.Source: AIM