“This drought is worse than the one which occurred in 1992!” says Zwelakhe who leaves in Mbabane, the Capital City of Swaziland. “Now we are faced with water restrictions: we are only supplied every other day and we are still supposed to be in the rainy season!”. The Hawane Dam which supplies Mbabane is nearly empty. The Mbabane-Manzini urban corridor is the main pole of growth of the country, and concentrates a number of developments: the convention center, a new industrial zone, and several housing estates. Swaziland has been seriously impacted by ‘el Niño’ this year, and the climate models show that this type of event will become more frequent in the coming decades with the effect of climate change.
But the Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy is now on top of the issue. Ms. Winnie T. Stewart, Principal Secretary of the Ministry considers that “the construction of a new water storage is planned to meet the increasing water demand and mitigate the effects of climate change. We are now launching a set of studies to prepare the feasibility and detailed design of a multipurpose dam, which will not only supply water for Mbabane and Manzini urban corridor, but also produce hydropower and provide water for irrigation if the feasibility is confirmed. This is a strategic investment for the country”. These preparation studies amount € 2.8 million and are financed by the African Water Facility, with a co-financing of the Middle Income Country Technical Assistance Fund, also managed by the AfDB, and the support of the Climate Resilience Infrastructure Development Facility.
From the 3rd to 5th of February, a mission from the African Development Bank / African Water Facility came in Mbabane to train the project team and discuss the 2016 workplan. The detailed design should be ready end of 2017.