Construction of Massingir began in Mozambique's late colonial period in 1973. It was completed in 1977, two years after independence. However serious defects resulted in leaks that prevented the reservoir from holding more than 40 percent of its capacity. That reduced irrigation potential 60 percent and delayed a plan to build a 40-MW hydro plant.
Mozambique's information agency, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (AIM), said the defects have been corrected, making its reservoir the second largest in the country, at 2.8 billion cubic meters. The largest is at 2,040-MW Cahora Bassa Dam. (HNN 5/24/07)
AIM said the repairs make it possible for Massingir to meet its original goals of irrigating 90,000 hectares, controlling floods in the Limpopo River Valley, and generating electricity.
Earlier this year, the African Development Fund (ADF) approved a supplementary loan of 17 million Units of Account (US$25.58 million) for rehabilitation of Massingir and its irrigation facilities in Gaza Province. (HNN 3/8/07)
An ADF loan of 55 million Units of Account (US$82.7 million) was approved in 1993 for rehabilitation and completion of Massingir Dam and rehabilitation of an irrigation scheme downstream. Supplementary activities estimated to cost 18.8 million Units of Account (US$28.3 million) are expected to complete the project.
The ADF loan is to finance 90 percent of the total project costs, with the Mozambique government supplying the remainder.
Additional rehabilitation is to include construction of an additional auxiliary spillway to ensure the dam's safety, reinforcement of the foundation, and additional grouting and relief wells.