Private Water Supply Systems Poised for Growth in Mozambique
The Regulation for Licensing of Private Water Providers in the Supply of Potable Water (Decree 51/2015) was approved on December 31, 2015, creating the opportunity for greatly expanded and well-regulated, safe and efficient access to water throughout the country. With the support of the USAID SPEED+ Project, the licensing process is poised to take off nationwide. Three seminars designed to increase understanding and promote participation under the Regulation were held in Maputo, Pemba and Beira in October and November 2017. The seminars were attended by municipal councilors and technicians, and representatives from District Planning and Infrastructure Services, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Division (DNAAS), the Water Regulation Council, the Regional Water Administrations and the Association of Private Water Providers (AFORAMO).
Private water supply system in the peri-urban zone of the city of Maputo
Although private water providers (PWPs) were previously unregulated and unlicensed, they started offering water services in the early 2000s and have been growing rapidly. In just three years, between 2010 and 2013, the number of PWPs in greater Maputo alone doubled to a total of 816 PWPs, and are active in many other parts of the country. To take advantage of this private sector initiative, while also ensuring health and safety standards are met and consumer protections are enforced, the GRM approved Decree 51/2015, providing a formal framework for licensing and regulation of PWPs throughout Mozambique.
The licensing process is assigned to local authorities, giving them the primary role in planning and overseeing investment in water supply infrastructure in their areas of jurisdiction. Decentralized licensing also empowers local authorities to control the quality and service of private water supply. Licensed private suppliers are allocated an exclusive operation area for a period of 5 years. This reduces potential conflicts between private providers, and facilitates the acquisition of financing to invest in the improvement of their systems. Private water supply is now a legally recognized business, and exclusive concessions provide certainty and predictability for investors and financiers.
To date, the Municipal Village of Macia, Bilene District, Gaza Province, is leading the country with a total of 20 systems licensed in 2017. SPEED+ will continue to facilitate the full and effective implementation of the Decree nationwide, which is expected to increase private sector investment in the water sector, improve access and quality of service for customers, and accelerate the scaling up of clean water delivery. In addition to the dissemination seminars, SPEED+ has provided a guidebook for district and municipal authorities and a brochure outlining the step-by-step licensing procedures for local authorities and PWPs. With SPEED+ support to DNAAS as the implementing partner, it is expected that by the end of 2018 a total of 500 private water supply systems will be licensed, serving 800,000 people with well-regulated, high quality, efficiently managed safe water services.