Flood alert on some rivers, but Umbeluzi remains low
Maputo, 13 Jan (AIM) – Although several major Mozambican rivers are at or approaching flood alert level, in the far south the Umbeluzi River, on which Maputo depends for its water supply, remains dangerously low.
According to the National Hydrological Bulletin, issued by the National Department of Water Resource Management, the reservoir at the Pequenos Libombos dam on the Umbeluzi, is now only 13.42 per cent full – a week ago it was 14 per cent full. Discharges from the dam are now running at 2.33 cubic metres a second (compared with three cubic metres a second a week ago).
The Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area (Maputo and Matola cities, and Boane district) is now in its fourth day of severe water restrictions. The Maputo Regional Water Company (AdeM) is pumping water to each neighbourhood on alternate days.
In addition to AdeM, there are a number of private water suppliers who sell consumers water from the wells they operate, and are not dependent on the Umbeluzi. The Association of Mozambican Water Suppliers (AFORAMO) declared on 1 January that their members will do what they can to expand their coverage.
“The existing capacity is to supply the clients that each supplier has”, the AFORAMO chairperson, Adriano Chirute, told the independent television station STV. The current crisis means “we should make an additional effort”.
That, however, would require new investment. “We always made investments in line with the needs of our clients”, said Chirute. “This crisis is a need that was not foreseen by the suppliers”.
AdeM clients are already trying to buy water from AFORAMO members, and Chirute expected the number to grow substantially in the coming days.
But in other parts of the country there is too much, rather than too little water. For the second time in a month the Limpopo River, in the southern province of Gaza, has exceeded flood alert level.
On 12 January, the river was slightly more than a metre above alert level at the Combumune measuring station. That flood wave is now travelling downstream towards Chokwe, at the heart of Limpopo Valley irrigated agriculture, but no significant impacts are expected yet.
In the central province of Manica, the Lucite River at Dombe is above alert level and is continuing to rise. The Lucite is the major tributary of the Buzi River, and so the Buzi in the neighbouring province of Sofala is also likely to reach flood level, threatening the ferry crossing between Guara-guara and Bandua.
Also in Sofala, the Pungue River has fallen below alert level, but remains very high. The Zambezi too is rising.
The Hydrological Bulletin warns that recent heavy rains pose a threat of localised urban flooding in the coastal cities of Beira, Quelimane and Nacala. (AIM)
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