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Latest 4 maps for / including Mozambique (more..):
Mozambique is part of:
Africa · Eastern Africa ·
Water Basins of Mozambique:
Buzi · Incomati · Komati · Limpopo · Maputo · Pungwe · Ruvuma · Sabi · Umbeluzi · Zambezi ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Maputo
Neighbouring Countries Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Total Area 801,590 km2
  - Water 17,500 km2 (2.18%) / 218 m2/ha
  - Land 784,090 km2
Coastline 2,470 km
Population 19,792,300 (25 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.366 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 47.3 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $9,788 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $900
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 44,850 km2 (5.72%)
     - Arable 42,576 km2 (5.43%)
     - Permanent Crops 2,274 km2 (0.29%)
     - Irrigated 1,180 km2
  - Non cultivated 8,047 km2 (94.28%)
Average Annual RainfallD 1032 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 216 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 33.23 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 87%
  - For Domestic Use 11%
  - For Industrial Use 2%
  - Per Capita 35 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 43%
     - Urban population 72%
     - Rural population 26%
  - Improved Sanitation 32%
     - Urban population 53%
     - Rural population 19%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends



Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Since the signing of the 1992 Peace Agreement, Mozambique has been viewed as one of Africa’s most successful stories of post-war reconstruction and economic recovery. The country held its third peaceful and democratic legislative and presidential elections in December 2004, reaffirming its commitment to political stability, democratic governance and national reconciliation. The Government has engaged in an ambitious economic, social and political reform agenda, and has made efforts to consolidate macro-economic stability, as a result of which the country is experiencing strong economic growth, averaging eight percent between 1996 and 2006, and has made significant progress in reducing poverty.

In spite of these achievements, many development challenges remain. Mozambique remains one of the poorest countries in the world and was ranked 172nd out of 177 in the 2007/08 Human Development Index. The national Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) progress report produced in 2005 indicated that of 11 MDG targets for which data were available, only five have the potential of being met without a considerable acceleration of efforts – those relating to poverty, under-five mortality, maternal mortality, malaria and the establishment of an open trading and financial system. Underlying and compounding all of these challenges is the vulnerability of the country to the combined effects of the ‘Triple Threat’ of protracted natural disasters, HIV and AIDS and weak national capacities to provide basic social services. Mozambique suffers from recurrent drought, particularly in semi-arid areas, which has led to pockets of food and nutrition insecurity and reduced access to safe water and sanitation in affected areas. The country is also prone to sudden onset emergencies such as cyclones and floods, resulting in inter alia loss of crops and livelihoods and outbreaks of cholera and high levels of diarrhoea among children, particularly in the rural areas.

The single greatest threat to development in Mozambique is HIV and AIDS and the epidemic is threatening to undermine all of the results achieved by the Government over the last decade. Based on the prevalence of HIV among pregnant women attending antenatal care, the nationa; HIV prevalence rate for 15-49 year-olds increased from 14% in 2001 to 16 % in 2007. These results have never been validated against population-based prevalence rates, but a nationwide population-based sero-behavioural survey (INSIDA]) will be carried out in 2008-9. There is great variation by region and province: HIV prevalence in Southern Mozambique is showing a rising trend (from 15% in 2001 to 19% in 2004 and 21% in 2007), whereas in the Central and Northern regions HIV prevalence is levelling at 18% and 9%, respectively. Provinces in the south show a dramatic increase in prevalence rate since 2001 with the sharpest growth noted in Gaza and Maputo provinces (prevalence currently estimated at 27% and 26%, respectively). Mozambique has very little or no data on HIV incidence, but HIV prevalence rates among young women (15-24 years) attending antenatal clinics continues to rise from an estimated 15.6% in 2004 to 16.2% in 2007.

The HIV and AIDS epidemic in Mozambique has a woman’s face: the prevalence among women in the 15-24 age group is 2.5 times higher than that among men. In addition to the human cost of HIV and AIDS, the epidemic is also threatening to seriously weaken institutional capacity and decrease economic productivity through the loss of manpower. Estimates indicate that AIDS may reduce the economic growth per capita by between 0.3 and 1.0 per cent each year. The reduction of poverty rates will be slower on account of weaker economic growth, a reduction in the accumulation of human capital and an increase in household dependency rates.

The Government has invested heavily in public sector reform, capacity development and an ambitious decentralisation programme, with the objective of improving efficiency, enhancing transparency and devolving responsibility from the heavily centralised state ministries to the provinces and districts. The limited operational and managerial capacity of some sectors remains a concern, however, particularly at the sub-national levels and in relation to the recruitment and retention of qualified human resources, a problem that is being exacerbated by the AIDS pandemic.

If Mozambique is to attain the MDGs, it requires an urgent halt and reversal of the incidence of HIV, improvements in the efficiency of service delivery to the poor, employment creation, increases in the state revenue, reductions in foreign aid dependency, and effective preparedness for recurrent natural disasters. Particular focus will need to be placed on reaching the most disadvantaged communities in order to reduce the prevailing disparities, increase participation in development processes and ensure that the development gains are experienced by all Mozambicans. (Source: UN Mozambique)

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Mozambique has 104 identified river basins and shares nine major river basins with other countries. The basins mostly carry water from the central African highland plateau to the Indian Ocean. The rivers have a highly seasonal, torrential flow regime with high waters during three to four months and low flows for the remainder of the year. In addition, Mozambique shares two large lakes with neighboring Malawi: Lake Niassa (Lake Malawi) and Lake Chirua (Lake Chilwa). The total surface area of Lake Niassa is 30 800 km2, of which 21 percent belong to Mozambique. Lake Chirua has an average total area of 750 km2 of which no more than 29 km2 are within Mozambique. In addition to the two main lakes, there are more than 1 300 small lakes, 20 of which have an area of between 10 and 100 km2.

Groundwater potential is considerable (17 cubic kilometers produced annually) and lies in the alluvial formations of the various rivers. Annual internal renewable water resources are estimated at 100 cubic kilometers, and the country receives another 117 cubic kilometers of surface water annually, primarily from the Zambezi River, which enters Mozambique from the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. With an installed capacity of 2060 megawatts, the Cahora Bassa Dam on the Zambezi River in Tete Province is the largest hydroelectric plant in Southern Africa. Well yields in the Zambezi and Incomati basins are up to 70 000 m3/day.

The country receives an average annual rainfall of 1032 millimeters, which varies widely across the country and from north to south. The north and central regions receive up to 2000 millimeters of rainfall per year, the coast receives 800–1000 millimeters, while the southern inland and border areas receive as little as 500–600 millimeters per year.

The main source of water in the country is surface water, although groundwater is relied on for drinking-water in urban centers and many rural areas. Agriculture accounts for 87% of water use, while 11% of water withdrawals are for domestic uses and 2% for industry. The country has an estimated irrigation potential of 3.1–3.3 million hectares. About 120,000 hectares are currently equipped for irrigation, although much of the infrastructure is in disrepair. About 55,000 hectares are actually irrigated, mostly in large schemes (over 500 hectares) devoted to sugarcane (35,000 hectares total), rice and vegetables and primarily in Maputo and Gaza provinces. Most of the irrigation potential is in the northern and central regions (60% of the potential is in Zambezi province). The southern regions have the greatest need for irrigation, but only a small share of suitable land.

Mozambique has limited access to raw water supplies and receives roughly 50 percent of its surface water from upstream neighbors; approximately 75 percent of the population relies on groundwater sources. In addition, Mozambique is particularly vulnerable to cyclical natural disasters (e.g. floods and drought). Despite these vulnerabilities, Mozambique’s water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector has implemented policy and institutional reforms that have increased its capacity to provide urban WSS services, but rural areas lag far behind.

Reforms have improved water supply regulation, dependability, quality and the financial viability of many urban service providers; however, these have been largely dependent on outside donor funding. The issues to be addressed in the future include: the ability to mobilize funding through implementation capacity growth; instituting robust monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems; reducing dependence on outside funding sources by increasing cost recovery strategies; and balancing urban and rural sub-sector budget allocations and expenditures.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Key Agencies in Mozambique's Water Sector
Key Agencies in Mozambique's Water Sector
Legal Framework

Mozambique’s 2004 Constitution provides that all water resources are owned by the state. Echoing the Constitution, the 1991 Water Law provides that all water is a state-owned public good. The state is responsible for managing water resources for the benefit of the entire population. Priority for water-use is given to human consumption, sanitation and environmental needs. Water management is based on a river basin approach: water in the same basin should be managed to benefit all states involved, and research, exchange of information and project development should be prepared and conducted jointly.

In 1995, the government adopted the National Water Policy, the primary objective of which is to guarantee a sustainable water supply and proper sanitation. The policy reformed and clarified the administrative, regulatory and development roles within the water supply and sanitation sector. Underpinning the reforms was the new Water Tariff Policy. This policy set out a more rational and commercially-oriented tariff regime that would support cost recovery and long-term financial sustainability of the water supply system. The policy is primarily focused on urban areas, but does encourage private-sector participation in water supply and distribution, including existing irrigation and hydroelectric schemes.

Mozambique’s poverty reduction strategy is aligned with the National Water Policy, but constraints to further WSS development remain. These constraints have been primarily attributed to the misalignment of WSS sector funding, no clear rural strategy, and capacity issues within the National Directorate for Water Affairs (DNA).

The National Irrigation Policy and its Implementation Strategy were adopted in 2002.

Institutional Framework

The National Water Directorate (DNA) within the Ministry of Public Works and Housing (MOPH) is in charge of overall planning and management of the country’s water resources and the provision of water supply and sanitation services in both rural and urban areas. In urban areas, the DNA delegated authority over systems covering the country’s cities as part of the 1995 National Water Development Program. The Water Supply Investment Fund (Fundo de Investmento e Patrimonio do Abastecimento de Agua, FIPAG) is a public entity that leases out operations and management to private entities. The Water Regulatory Council (Conselho de Regulaqzo do Abastecimento de Aguas, CRA) is an independent regulatory agency that sets the tariff regime to ensure a viable and sustainable water sector. The institutions and regulatory framework established have generally been considered successful.

Under the DNA responsibility, the Rural Water and Sanitation Strategic Plan (2006-2015) was launched in 2007 with the following objectives:

  • Improve quality and national coverage of rural water supply and sanitation services
  • Promote Rural Sanitation into the National Agenda
  • Broaden the range of technology options and institutional management models
  • Promote decentralization of institutional responsibilities

Regional Water Administrations are basin authorities responsible for water development and management. Mozambique’s five Regional Water Administrations control irrigation systems and collect water fees within their jurisdictions. The Regional Water Administrations have administrative, organizational and financial autonomy but report to the DNA. The only ARA fully operational by 2000 was ARA-Sul (South), while a second one, ARA-Centro, is under formation. ARA-Sul is in charge of the southern part of the country up to the Save River, where most problems of water management exist. In areas not yet covered by an ARA, the Provincial Directorates of Public Works and Housing are the authority responsible for water resources management in the province.

The territorial responsibility of the five ARAs is as follows:

  • ARA South, which includes all the basins south of the Save, and the Save River basin itself.
  • ARA Centre, which covers all the basins between the Save and Zambezi basins.
  • ARA Zambezi, which corresponds to the Zambezi basin.
  • ARA Centre-North, which covers the Zambezi basin as far as the Lurio River, including the Lurio basin.
  • ARA North, which covers all the basins north of the Lurio basin.

The National Directorate for Agricultural Hydraulics (DNHA) within the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADER) is the coordinating authority for activities relating to irrigation and drainage. DNA has responsibility for the entire water sector. It manages most potable water sector schemes in the rural areas, as well as in smaller towns and cities. It performs studies, executes agricultural hydraulics projects and supports smallholder irrigation development. DNHA‘s ability to fulfill this role is limited and donors have had to step into the rural sector – often in an uncoordinated fashion with insufficient follow up and maintenance.

The National Water Council (CNA) was created in 1991 as a consultative body to the Council of Ministers. In general, however, the CNA has not been very effective and coordination between agencies involved in water resources management has been a constant source of concern.

The Fund for Agricultural Hydraulics Development (FDHA) is in charge of promoting, fostering and funding the hydro-agricultural works or other activities related to irrigated agricultural development.

Government Reforms and Interventions

Mozambique’s water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector has implemented policy and institutional reforms that have increased its capacity to provide urban WSS services. Reforms have improved water-supply regulation, dependability and quality, as well as the financial viability of many urban service providers. The achievements have largely depended on outside donor funding, however, and reforms have not reached rural areas. An evaluation by the AfDB identifies continuing issues as including: (1) the ability of the sector to mobilize funding through growth of implementation capacity; (2) adoption of monitoring and evaluation systems; (3) reduction of dependence on outside funding sources by increasing cost-recovery strategies; and (4) balancing urban and rural subsector budget allocations and expenditures.

With the assistance of donors, the government created a water and sanitation sector working group to help coordinate government implementation of water and sanitation projects and donor initiatives. A technical subgroup, the Water and Sanitation Group (Grupo de Agua e Saneamento,GAS), includes representatives from major sector donors, international NGOs and private-sector firms. GAS is a forum to discuss and evaluate sector progress.

In 2009 Mozambique received a US $27 million loan from the AfDB to fund the Niassa Provincial Towns Water and Sanitation Project. The project, which will be implemented over four years beginning in 2010, is designed to improve access, quality, availability and sustainability of water supply and sanitation services in two provincial towns, Cuamba and Lichinga. The project includes support for institutional development, rehabilitation and extension of the water supply scheme.

The National Water Management Strategy was launched in 2007. The main objective of the National Water Management Strategy is the effective implementation of the National Water Policy. The Strategy encompasses all aspects of water resources, including surface water and groundwater, water quality and ecosystems protection, IWRM, legal, institutional and regulatory framework, transboundary river basin management, disaster assessment and management, capacity development. An inter-sectoral, multidisciplinary Working Group (GTA) was established by the National Water Council for coordination and supervisions of the strategy implementation. The GTA is composed by technical officers from different ministries, NGOs, water users associations, academic institutions and private sector.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

The Urban Sub-sector

The major urban areas have received substantially more attention from both the government and donors in terms of both capacity building and financial support. The success of the urban sector and FIPAG and CRA as effective institutions has meant that the sub-sector is attracting increasing investment and improving both reliability and sustainability of service. When it was established in 1998, FIPAG was responsible for the five largest cities. By 2007, FIPAG was responsible for 14 cities and towns. FIPAG now manages an investment portfolio of over US$350 million. FIPAG contracted a private operator, Aguas de Moçambique (a local operator 70% owned by Aguas de Portugal), for the 4-year management contract for the water systems in Beira, Nampula, Pemba and Quelimane. The same operator also won a 15 year lease contract for the water system of Maputo.

In many other areas, FIPAG is establishing autonomous water companies in partnership with Vitens (a Dutch operator) under loans from the AfDB and Dutch trust funds. Unfortunately, the coverage ratio has been declining over the past decade. Heavy immigration is primarily responsible for the declining ratio, but other constraints include non-revenue water averaging 50 percent in urban areas due to poor metering, physical losses in the distribution system, and illegal connections. In addition, human resource management has not received the attention needed to increase urban WSS service capacity. Urban service providers will need to concentrate on instituting strategic corporate staffing and retention policies in order to help improve operations and maintenance.

The Rural Sub-sector

The rural areas are served mainly through small piped village systems and point source (boreholes with hand pumps). A demand driven community managed model was developed in the early 2000s and piloted successfully in a number of communities but hasn’t been rolled out in a significant way yet.

The World Bank estimates that up to 35 percent of rural systems are not working at any one time due to a limited capacity within DNA that leads to underspending, poor procurement practices, and weak financial management. The government and donors have responded with a recent agreement to put a sector-wide approach program (SWAP) in place for the rural areas. The SWAP harmonizes sector planning and monitoring, and provides for more effective aid.

Still to be addressed are the requirements of smaller cities and towns. There are over 33 municipalities in Mozambique and the urban growth rate averages four percent. The needs in these areas will create an additional pressure on the sector institutions.

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities

Donor Involvement

USAID is investing in interventions that integrate water and sanitation into existing PEPFAR, health and hygiene programs. As part of the 5-year compact between the MCC and the Government of Mozambique (GOM), the Rural Water Supply Project (RWSP) aims to reduce the incidence and severity of water-related diseases and the burdens associated with collecting water. Approximately 600 rural communities in the northern provinces of Nampula and Cabo Delgado may participate voluntarily in the project, which will increase access to groundwater through safer and more accessible sources. The US $203 million Water and Sanitation Project is focusing on six cities and two mid-sized towns in Zambezi, Nampula and Cabo Delgado provinces.

The World Bank’s 5-year (2007–2012) US $30 million Mozambique Water Services and Institutional Support Project aims to increase water-service coverage in the cities of Beira, Nampula, Quelimane and Pemba and to establish an institutional and regulatory framework for water supply in smaller cities and towns. The project is financing: investments in the four cities under the responsibility of FIPAG; capacity-building and institutional and operational support to DNA; and operational support to CRA. The capital works program for the Water Services and Institutional Support Project is progressing well; as of the end of 2009, the network expansion was about 38% complete (135.5 kilometers).

The related US $6.5 million Water Sector Contracts Output-Based Aid (OBA) for Coverage Expansion Project (2007–2011) is a World Bank-funded project designed to increase piped-water access to over 468,000 poor Mozambicans living in five cities by providing an output-based subsidy to private operators after their delivery of functioning yard-taps and demonstration of continued service for a period of time. Approximately 29,000 yard-taps will be installed, each of which will serve three households. As of the end of 2009, project staff believed that the objective of increasing yard-taps connections for Maputo will be achieved because a private operator was in place and the connections are demonstrated to be sustainable. However, in the other four cities the private sector has expressed little interest and the project may require restructuring.

Sustainability remains the biggest weakness in Mozambique’s donor-financed water and sanitation sector interventions. A recent study for the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) suggests that many projects constructed as recently as two years ago are already broken; only 21 percent of JICA-financed water points in Mokuba are considered to be operating as designed, with similar results in Ile (20 percent), Alto-Molocue (32 percent), and Gurue (17 percent). In addition, the accumulation of accounts payable by the government ministries coordinating donor involvement has noticeably delayed the realization of some projects. Overall, M&E systems need significant improvements so that transparency, project timelines, and cost effectiveness are better tracked. Some donors have symbolically cut aid in recent months due to corruption in the government.


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Projects and Case Studies

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Case studies in or about Mozambique

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5 most recently updated publications on Mozambique
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5 most popular publications on Mozambique
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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Mozambique

Who is Who

People working in Mozambique

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See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Mozambique

Organizations working in Mozambique
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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Mozambique


See also

External Resources

"Water Supply and Sanitation in Mozambique" on Wikipedia



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