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African bank to help Mozambique fund Massingir Dam outlet repair

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has agreed to contribute US$30 million to help repair outlet pipes at Massingir Dam that ruptured a year after US$60 million in dam rehabilitation work funded by AfDB.

In June 2007, Mozambique President Armando Guebuza had inaugurated the rehabilitated Massingir Dam, after work was completed to correct serious leakage that began within months after the dam was completed in 1977 on Mozambique's Olifants River. (HNN 6/7/07)

The leakage had 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. Upon completion of the leakage repairs the reservoir was refilled until the rupture of Massingir's outlet pipes in May.

Mozambique's information agency, Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (AIM), reported September 11 that AfDB decided to contribute US$30 million toward the outlet pipes' repairs.

However, General Director Olinda de Sousa of the Southern Regional Water Board (ARA-Sul) said that sum would not be sufficient to cover the amount of work needed to make the dam fully operational again. She said the actual cost could not be specified until further investigations are completed.

A team of Mozambican and foreign specialists are to begin a more detailed investigation soon. A separate government inquiry indicated action might be taken against consultants to the dam leakage repair project.

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