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Dams and Infrastructure: Mozambique

There are two dams within the basin in Mozambique (LBPTC 2010). Massingir Dam has the largest storage capacity in the basin at 2 800 Mm³ with a flooded area of 150 km² and is located 30 km downstream of the South African border on the Olifants River (Barros 2009). The dam was originally conceived as multi-purpose irrigation and hydro-power project. In 1978 a serious leak was discovered after the first impounding. This meant the dam could never fulfill its potential as storage for irrigation or for hydro-power production. The dam was rehabilitated from 2003 to 2006, however, in 2008 a breach of the bottom flood gates occurred causing 300 Mm³ of water to be released in 2 days. Further repairs to the dam were estimated to take two more years in 2009 (Barros 2009).

Massingir Dam, Mozambique.
Source: ARA-Sul 2009
( click to enlarge )

The Maccarretane Barrage is used to elevate the water level of the Limpopo River to allow gravity-fed irrigation in the Chokwé scheme (Barros 2009). The dam has 39 installed mobile flood gates which open automatically when flows are greater than or equal to 2 500 m³/s (Barros 2009). This dam is currently under repair due to damages sustained in the late 1970s during the war with the former Rhodesia.

Ponte da barragem de Macarretane, Chokwé, Moçambique.
Source: Vogel 2008
( click to enlarge )