Challenges and Opportunities For Safe Water Supply in Mozambique
Abstract: In Mozambique, despite considerable investments in the promotion of drinking water supplies, the access to quality water of sufficient quantity for the majority of people is still far from optimal. Current official figures report that nearly half of the country´s population and about 45 per cent of urban residents do not have access to safe water. As a result of poor performance or absence of public water services, in most areas, informal private operators supply water to the most of underserved populations. Management of drinking water quality is inadequate and is affected by limitations at production and distribution level. This research included an analysis of drinking water supply aspects of Mozambique with the view to contribute to the understanding of the factors affecting present drinking water supply and the challenges facing the water governance sector in developing and maintaining sustainable drinking water supplies. Emphasis was put on identifying critical factors affecting production and management of drinking water quality. The analysis of water quality aspects shown that present limitations in water safety and water quality are due mainly to lack of adequate treatment, inadequate management of distribution and lack of knowledge among operators. The quality of water sources used for drinking water production is very similar to that of many other parts of the world and the methods used for water treatment are, suited for production of excellent treated water quality. However, poor knowledge and inefficient operation of treatment processes causes drinking water production to be ineffective. Methods of improving drinking water treatment were also investigated. For reasons of sustainability, low cost treatment methods were selected. Pre-treatment with up-flow roughing filtration and use of natural coagulants (Moringa Oleifera) for water treatment were the methods tested. The results proven that if properly incorporated in the drinking water treatment strategy of the country, these methods can provide a viable and sustainable alternative for improved drinking water production. Service quality aspects of informal private operators were also analysed. It was concluded that they provide a reliable alternative for access and for expansion of service delivery to areas lacking piped water supply. It was also concluded that present human health risks for consumers relying on these services are comparable to that of formal water supplies. However, the lack of an inclusive regulatory framework to this type of service providers limits the possibilities for regulation of their activities. Therefore, regulation aspects around formal and informal service providers formed part of the research and a proposal for expanding the existing regulatory framework was presented. Licensing and regulatory functions needed are presented. The main conclusion of this study is that two major factors affect drinking water supply in Mozambique specifically; limited service coverage and; limitations in water safety and water quality caused by lack of adequate treatment, poor management of water distribution and lack of knowledge among operators. The main contribution of this study is to the water governance sector of Mozambique and it refers to the various possibilities offered by methods tested during this study, for sustainable improvement of drinking water production. In addition, the findings of the discussion of the drinking water supply situation looking not only at quantity but also at quality aspects of service delivery as was done in this study, will hopefully help the sector redefine its strategy of addressing drinking water supply in Mozambique.
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