Mozambique water shortage:

Problems for agriculture Boane district

The low water levels of the Pequenos Libombos dam is compromising agricultural production in Mozambique’s Boane district, west of Maputo.

The dam is the water source for the treatment and pumping station on the Umbeluzi river that provides the cities of Maputo and Matola with water. All irrigation agriculture in the Umbeluzi valley also depends on the Pequenos Libombos reservoir.

For the past year there have been restrictions on the use of Pequenos Libombos water for agriculture, and these are unlikely to be lifted any time soon. The reservoir is currently only 20 percent full. Although this is better than a year ago, when the level fell to 13 percent, it is not enough to satisfy both agricultural and drinking water requirements.

The Boane district authorities had planned to produce crops, particularly vegetables, on an irrigated area of 40,000 hectares, but this is entirely dependent on the availability of water. According to an article, even regular rainfall would fill the Pequenos Libombos reservoir up to 50 percent.

The current rainy season ends in March. Unless there is heavy rainfall upstream, the restrictions on the use of Umbeluzi water will continue.

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