The move was prompted by a combination of torrential rains north of the Zambezi, at a time of a severe drought in southern Mozambique, particularly the Umbeluzi Basin in Maputo province.
The CTGC met in Maputo on Tuesday to analyse the critical situation in the Umbeluzi River and the Pequenos Libombos dam, which is the main source of drinking water for the Greater Maputo Metropolitan Area.
"The intention is to ensure minimum quantities of water for human consumption in Maputo, Matola and Boane until the next rainy season”
The Umbeluzi flows out of the dam, whose reservoir is less than 20 per cent full. So far the 2017/2018 rainy season has not raised the reservoir to comfortable levels and heavy rains have fallen in Maputo and Matola, but not further upstream in the Umbeluzi basin.
The CTGC noted that the weather forecast for the rest of the rainy season (February and March) is for normal rainfall, with a trend to below normal. Thus the rainy season might end without a significant improvement in the level of the Pequenos Libombos reservoir.
The use of Umbeluzi water for irrigated agriculture has already been banned, with serious consequences for the banana plantations in the Unebluzi Valley. Now, with the orange alert, the authorities intend to
strengthen controls on water use.