Dam financed by Chinese bank boosts water supply to Mozambican capital

23 May 2006

Maputo, Mozambique, 23 May – Water supply to the Mozambican capital, Maputo, will be boosted by the future Moamba Major dam on the outskirts of the city, the construction of which will receive US$300 million in financing from Chinese Export Import Bank (Exim).

The financing is part of a package of investments provided by the Exim Bank to Mozambique, which is mainly focused on building Mpanda Ncua, the second hydroelectric dam along the Zambezi River, close to Cahora Bassa, and where US$3.2 billion will be spent.

The Moamba Major dam, on the Incomati River, some 80 kilometers south of Maputo, is one of the projects developed by the Mozambican authorities to meet increasing demand for water and electricity in the capital.

Between 2000 and 2004, domestic links in urban areas, especially in Maputo, increased from 621,000 to 762,000.

“The construction of the Moamba Major dam aims to boost the capacity for supplying the city of Maputo and its outskirts with water, due to a forecast of falling capacity for supply by the Pequenos Libombos dam, which currently provides water to the capital,” Joaquim Cossa, advisor to the Mozambican minister of Public Works and Housing, told Macauhub.

Cossa added that the US$300,000 financing by the Exim Bank was for carrying out “environmental impact studies, the executive project and the construction of the Moamba Major dam,” which could begin this year.

Despite being one of the countries in Southern Africa which is best served by rivers and other bodies of water, Mozambique has only 12 medium and large dams, which are not sufficient to meet the increased demand or to reduce the impact of droughts and floods to which it is vulnerable.

Access to drinking water and the management of water resources is one of the determining factors in fighting absolute poverty, which affects over half of the Mozambican population and these people have no capacity for reacting to crises due to natural disasters such as droughts and floods.

Information to which Macauhub had access shows that, with the exception of the Cahora Bassa dam, the remaining dikes in the country ensure a storage capacity of 330 m3 per capita, which places Mozambique at the tail end of countries in the region in terms of existence of those types of infrastructure.

And, according to the World Bank, if measures are not taken to reduce the effect of natural disasters, their effect on the country’s economy could total US$3 billion by 2030.

A survey by the National Water Directorate of Mozambique showed that 39 districts crossed by the rivers Maputo, Umbeluzi, Incomati, Limpopo, Save, Pungué, Zambezi and Licungo are currently vulnerable to flooding.

The five-year plan drawn up by the government of Emílio Guebuza aims to increase water supply coverage to 60 percent by 2009, serving 4 million people in urban areas.

As well as the Moamba Major dam, the five-year plan also outlines the beginning of work on projects for dams in Mapai, on the Limpopo River, and Bué Maria, on the Pungué River. (macauhub)