Mozambique-Climate Change-Drought

Drought-hit Mozambique imposes restrictions on water usage

APA-Maputo (Mozambique)

The Maputo Regional Water Company (AdeM) says it will impose drastic restrictions on Tuesday in the water supply to the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area, the satellite industrial suburb of Matola and Boane district after a prolonged drought which started in March 2015 affecting Mozambique and other parts of southern Africa.

The drought has wiped out livestock and pushed up food prices among other things over the last year, affecting the livelihood of millions of people.

AdeM says there is simply not enough water in the Umbeluzi River and the reservoir at the Pequenos Libombos dam to continue normal supplies to the Mozambican capital.

“Top priority will be given to water for human consumption and there are specific points where building companies can send tanker trucks to pick up water for construction purposes,” reads an AdeM media statement emailed to APA on Monday,

The Greater Maputo water supply system consists of the treatment and pumping station on the Umbeluzi, seven distribution centres and around 3,000 kilometres of water pipes.

The system distributes about 240,000 cubic metres of water a day.

However, the AdeM statement said nothing about the requirements of water guzzling industries, such as the producers of beer and soft drinks.

Although it has rained heavily in parts of southern Mozambique in recent weeks, the level of the Pequenos Libombos reservoir, the main source of water for the Umbeluzi pumping station, remains very low. Last Thursday the reservoir was only 14 per cent full.

According to AdeM, saving the situation will depend on rainfall upstream, particularly in Swaziland and without heavy rain in the near future, the severe restrictions on the Maputo water supply could continue for weeks, or even months.

The government has already banned the use of Umbeluzi water for the banana plantations and other commercial, irrigated agricultural companies that usually depend on the Umbeluzi. The southern regional water board (ARA-Sul) has issued television warnings urging consumers not to waste water through such unnecessary activities as washing cars or watering lawns.

The drought has hit much of the southern Africa region including the maize belt in South Africa; the continent’s most advanced economy and the top producer of the staple grain.

In Mozambique and most of southern Africa, last year’s poor rains were followed by an El Nino-driven drought that has delayed planting and stunted crops.

The Red Cross has said an estimated 31.6 million people across the region are struggling to feed themselves while the United Nations’ food agency FAO, said last month that it needed $730 million over the next 12 months for relief in seven southern African countries including Mozambique.


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