Low water levels on Mozambique’s Lago de Cahora Bassa - Earth.com

Low water levels on Mozambique’s Lago de Cahora Bassa

Low water levels on Mozambique’s Lago de Cahora Bassa betrayed signs of stress in late July 2016.The Cahora Bassa lake—in the Portuguese colonial era (until 1974) known as Cabora Bassa, from Nyungwe Kahoura-Bassa, meaning “finish the job”—is Africa‘s fourth-largest artificial lake, situated in the Tete Province in Mozambique. In Africa, only Lake Volta in Ghana, Lake Kariba, on the Zambezi upstream of Cahora Bassa, and Egypt‘s Lake Nasser are bigger in terms of surface water. Low water levels on Mozambique’s Lago de Cahora Bassa

The Cahora Bassa System started in the late 1960s as a project of the Portuguese in the Overseas Province of Mozambique. Southern African governments were also involved in an agreement stating that Portugal would build and operate a hydroelectric generating station at Cabora Bassa (as it was then called in Portuguese) together with the high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission system required to bring electricity to the border of South Africa. South Africa, on the other hand, undertook to build and operate the Apollo converter station and part of the transmission system required to bring the electricity from the South African/Mozambican border to the Apollo converter station near Pretoria. South Africa was then obliged to buy electricity that Portugal was obliged to supply.

During the struggle for independence, construction materials for the dam were repeatedly attacked in a strategic move by Frelimo guerrillas, as its completion would cause the lake to widen so much it would take very long to cross to the other side with their canoes. The dam began to fill in December 1974, after the independence agreement had been signed. Mozambique officially became independent from Portugal on 25 June 1975.

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