More than 21,000 families in the Greater Maputo metropolitan region have had their water supply restricted since Thursday May 5th because of work on the water main on the bridge over the Incomáti river in Moamba district.
The director of distribution at Águas da Região Metropolitana de Maputo (AdeM,) João Francisco, says that residents have been experiencing a reduction in water pressure for over three days, as well as a decrease in supply time.
“Water has been coming out normally, except [Friday] when we had water until 10:00 a.m. only, and supply only resumed on Saturday morning,” said a resident who identified herself as Judite.
She said that, when she saw the water pressure drop, she thought it was an electrical problem, but the low pressure persisted.
According to the João Francisco, the neighbourhoods affected by these water restrictions are those which receive water from the distribution centres of Tsalala and Guava, namely Matola-Gare, Tchumene II, Tsalala, Guava, Zimpeto, Chiango and Magoanine C, as well as the administrative post of Sábie and the village of Phessene, in Moamba district, province of Maputo.
“The work will last 30 days, but the part which requires distribution system downtime will last only eight days, distributed in two phases – the first one started on May 5th and ended on the 8th, and the second phase runs from the 14th to the 17th of May,” the AdeM director explained.
João Francisco said that water reserves would be restored during the interval between the first and second phases (8 to 14 May), to ensure that customers continue to receive water, albeit in a restricted way.
He clarified that, for the 21,000 customers affected, there would be no shortage of water, but only a reduction in supply time.
“When we started this operation, we filled all our reserves to guarantee continuity of service. At the moment we are operating with the Umbeluzi source, which contributes 80% of our distribution capacity, and the Sábie source contributes only 20%, that is, we are saying that we have reduced our production and distribution capacity by 20%,” Francisco said.
The works aim to avoid water losses and consequent damage to the company, but citizens are concerned about the quality of the water in their taps.
“We have received complaints from customers about the colour and the smell of the water. We took notes and improved our infrastructure and, as a result, this rainy season we had no complaints about the water quality and we are getting better and better,” Francisco concluded.
Residents Catarina Nhangave and Sara Moiane confirm the reduction in pressure and water supply in the three days up to last Saturday, but that is not what worries them.
“The water bills at the end of the month are very high. There are months when we are charged 200 meticais, others 400 meticais and others up to 800 meticais. There was a month when we paid 1,500 meticais. It wasn’t just here at my house. We got together and went to the company to complain,” said Catarina Nhangave.
As a result of the high bills, Sara Moiane has been without water for two months, despite currently paying small instalments.
The current pipeline intervention will not imply additional costs, as it is covered by the work’s warranty.