|Mozambique: Pre-Paid Water Meters for Maputo
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
March 30, 2006
Posted to the web March 30, 2006
Aguas de Mocambique (AdeM), the Portuguese led consortium that is managing water supply for Maputo and several other Mozambican cities, intends to instal a system of pre-payment in the capital, reports Friday's issue of the independent newsheet "Mediafax".
The executive director of AdeM, Braz Duarte, told the paper that pre-payment meters will be installed by late 2006 or early 2007. He believed that this will improve the image of the company, and reduce problems with water invoices, notably the constant complaints from consumers that they are being overcharged. During this year the company will also install 100 new public standpipes in Maputo and the neighbouring city of Matola, thus greatly expanding the number of people served by the public distribution system.
The cast iron standpipes will cost a total of 40,000 US dollars, and will supply about 50 households each.
Duarte said the standpipes will provide water from 23.00 until 15.00 the following day. "We're doing this in an attempt to cope with the problem of water shortages in Maputo and Matola", he said. He added that AdeM will be providing water for a further 15,000 clients in the outer Maputo neighbourhood of Laulane. But even with such initiatives, many areas in the capital are still not covered by the public network, and their residents depend on buying water from private wells.
Braz complained of clients who fail to pay their bills, and those who strike corrupt deals with AdeM workers to ensure clandestine water connections. The losses involved were such that "Of the 100 per cent of water that we produce and treat, we only invoice 50 per cent", said Braz.
But this water is not all going into illegal connections: much of it is lost through leaks, which AdeM has been unable or unwilling to repair. Braz said AdeM had been working with the police on the issue of illegal connections "and we've arrested a good number of people, including some of our own workers".
He stressed that while theft of water continues, AdeM will be unable to supply water to the city for 24 hours a day.