Technology Helps Mozambique Map Private Water Operators for Urban Water Planning
MaputoThanks to a new inventory that details the exact scale of services provided by private water operators (FPAs), the Government of Mozambique is now better able to plan and deliver improved services in the urban centers of Maputo, Matola and Marracuene, Maputo Province.
The inventory, developed using a tool called electronic Project Observation, Reporting and Tracking methodology (ePORT) provides details on technical specifications of the water systems, level of service, water tariffs, water treatment and storage, and monthly operating costs.
Private water operators in Mozambique operate mainly in urban centers where the Municipal utility has failed to cope with the ever growing demand for water services resulting from rapid urban population growth. While the FPAs have been in place for many years, serving many customers, the Government has struggled to develop a strategy for licensing and regulating them to ensure that the water supply activities of FPAs are consistent with the investment plans of the Government, and to optimize the provision of water supply services to the population.
The lack of updated information on the actual number of FPAs, their coverage, quality of water supplied, and tariffs charged, made it difficult for the Government to implement its water coverage expansion plans.
Since October 2011, USAID’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa program (SUWASA) has been providing technical assistance to the Government through the National Directorate of Water (DNA) to design a clear regulatory and licensing framework for urban water services. The inventory of FPAs is of great significance for future planning, especially as the Government implements major water infrastructure Enumerators in Maputo investment to cover areas that are not currently served, including those served by the FPAs.
Using the ePORT tool and the latest technology, comprising Google Maps and tablet devices, the project was able to address the challenges often experienced by mapping activities that rely on paper – which can lead to problems associated with data transfer, quality time, and subsequently efficient resource use.
An added benefit of this application is the data storage model it uses. All information is stored automatically on iCloud – an Internet-based database that allows access anywhere in the world, and near-real time assessment of survey progress, through simple review of the location of data points in a spatial database viewed using a geographic information system (GIS).
The inventory exercise succeeded in mapping 816 FPAs owned by 516 entrepreneurs and providing water to 192,000 households. These detailed information that will help the Government to license and regulate the operations of FPAs and plan effectively for piped water supply expansion in Maputo Province.