Mozambique : Moatize Water System inaugurated

Moatize - Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared on Thursday in Moatize, in the western province of Tete, that access to clean drinking water is key to fighting disease.

He was speaking at the inauguration of a new water supply system for Moatize town which more than doubles the amount of water available. The amount of water abstracted from the Revobue river (a tributary of the Zambezi) has risen from 180 to 380 cubic metres an hour.

The government financed the work, through the Water Supply Investment and Assets Fund (FIPAG), to the tune of 67.8 million meticais (about 2.8 million US dollars). The contract was awarded to a consortium formed by the companies Sojocol and Aquatec, both of which are companies owned by Portuguese and Mozambican shareholders.

The work, which took 18 months, involved building a new 10 kilometre mains pipe, and a distribution network with 42 kilometres of pipes. The new system increases the number of people with access to piped water from 36 to 75 per cent of the 44,000 people living in Moatize town.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony, Guebuza said the government was solving not just a question of drinking water but one of public health. "Now we have to treat this water well, in order to solve our health problems", he urged. "Don't leave the taps open, and don't allow the water to be used in an improper fashion".

"We have to protect this water", he urged, "protect the wells, protect the pipes, protect the tanks, protect the standpipes, protect the water that reaches our houses".

The President's warning followed acts of sabotage and vandalism that have occurred even before the official inauguration of the system.

According to Public Works Minister Felicio Zacarias, on the very day that water started to flow in the new system, unidentified individuals sabotaged 24 standpipes, removing the taps in the middle of the night. So water began to pour out of the pipes.

"The people woke up and found that the ground was all wet", said Zacarias. "They asked if it had trained that night". He insisted that the people of Moatize must make an effort to protect this investment.