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Delivering a safe and sustainable water supply to more than 50,000 residents in Maputo

Sep 2019
Mozambique
50000 people reached

Mozambique is one of the world’s poorest countries, with half the urban population living below the national poverty line and only one quarter having access to piped water. At the same time, increasing urbanisation is placing ever-growing demands on water services. There is therefore a critical demand for a sustainable, good-quality water supply for residents. 

In the Greater Maputo region, which includes the country’s two largest cities – Maputo and Matola – there are 16 small scale operators (SSOs) who run local water supply systems on behalf of FIPAG, the national water infrastructure owner. This model – where a utility company subcontracts supply services to SSOs – is common in countries such as Mozambique, as the SSOs are better able to meet the needs of large numbers of low-income consumers than a major organisation such as FIPAG. The SSOs’ services are therefore critical to the low income residents receiving a supply of water. However, the SSOs had raised concerns that both the quality and quantity of the water they distributed had declined. Borealis and Borouge, through Water for the World, saw an opportunity to fund a project that would significantly improve the local water system and the residents’ lives. 


Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP) initiated the project and implemented it on the ground, as part of its wider programme in Mozambique. In addition to Borealis, FIPAG and the SSOs, other key stakeholders include Borealis pipe customer POLITEJO, which manufactured the HDPE pipes used to upgrade the network, employing Borealis’ PE100 material. Several consultants, contractors and works supervisors also supported the planning and implementation of the work. 

Prioritising improvements 

Having assessed the potential works needed in each of the 16 SSOs, 12 were selected as priorities for the project. The works carried out included constructing tertiary water supply networks using the HDPE PE100 WATER pipes, repairing existing water tanks and training the SSOs’ staff to manage, operate and maintain pipeline systems. The project also supported FIPAG, so it could more effectively monitor the water quality the SSOs delivered, and increased the SSOs’ capacity to provide a good-quality water supply to their customers. The works completed in November 2019, with a provisional handover to FIPAG. The final handover was signed in May 2020, following a six-month provisional guarantee period.

Providing a safe drinking water supply for more than 50,000 people

The project has substantially improved the water supply for local residents. Particular benefits include better water quality, reduced water losses and, in a number of the local areas, a doubling of hours of service each day. Customers without water had their supply reinstated and the overall social pressure on the system was reduced. In total, the project has benefitted nearly 51,700 local residents. In addition, more than 150 experts received technical training provided by Borouge technical experts over the course of the project, on topics ranging from the design and installation of PE100 pipes to managing water quality and reducing water losses.

The project also ensured that the local water supply infrastructure is more resilient and requires less maintenance, due to the added value provided by the HDPE PE100 pipes. Although these pipes are initially more expensive than traditional materials, they offer substantial long-term advantages. HDPE pipes come in significantly longer lengths of 50 or 100 metres, against six metres for the alternative materials. This means fewer junctions, easier installation, less leakage and lower maintenance. Joints between pipes are permanently fused, further reducing the likelihood of leaks. HDPE pipes are also becoming popular for household connections and smaller tertiary networks, with mechanical joint fittings being widely available in the local market, reducing the need for international orders.