Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario has inaugurated the Chiveve river drainage system running through the heart of the port city of Beira in central Mozambique.

The system, financed by the German government and built by the China Henan International Co-operation Group (CHICO), consists of the re-opening the Chiveve Channel, and building spillways and storm water retention basins with the capacity to hold 250,000 cubic metres of water. The project also includes an engine room to control the flow of sea water into the Chiveve.

This drainage system is intended to control the cyclical problem of flooding faced in Beira. Part of the city is below sea level, and its very existence is threatened by sea level rises caused by climate change.

According to the director of climate change projects in the Ministry of Public Works, Paulo Oscar, the re-opening of the Chiveve Channel will mean that when heavy rains coincide with high tides, they will no longer have a negative impact on the citizens of Beira. Instead of spreading out across the streets of Beira, the storm waters will be channeled into the two retention basins.

Addressing the inauguration ceremony Monday, Rosario said: We all remember the drama Beira went through every time it rained. The scale of the problem and its negative impact ensured that solving it was a top government priority.”

The Chiveve system opens a new page in solving Beira’s drainage and sanitation problems, he added. The money that was allocated to protecting and rehabilitating infrastructures after every rainy season can now be channeled to other development priorities.”

Rosario pledged that the government would follow up this inauguration with further projects to improve Beira’s resilience to climate change. This will include 9.5 kilometres of primary canals, complementary structures to control storm waters, and another retention basin in Maraza with the capacity to hold 150,000 cubic metres.