The first week in Maputo

By Hidde Schijfsma and Jesse Salet

Last week (16th of November) we arrived at Maputo Airport where we were warmly welcomed by Noor. She drove us around and gave us a nice first impression of Mozambique. During the coming period we will be analyzing the issues of the municipal sewerage system of Maputo. At the moment there are some problems with non-operating pumps and because of that the sewage is discharged directly into the bay. Our goal is to find out the issue behind the non-operating pumps and investigate how the system can be restored or even improved to operate in a more sustainable way.

Arrival in Maputo (with Noor)

The first days In Maputo we had to arrange some important basic things, like internet, so we could start the project comfortable. The rooms we got through UEM are nice and clean and our Mozambican roommate, who had his mother sleeping over every night, is a very friendly guy.

In the first part of our research we had several interviews with people who are familiar with the sewerage system in Maputo. After the first meeting with Mr. Rocha from AIAs (organization responsible for the sewerage system) we found out that the technical problems with the pumps, which were not operating for at least six years, are almost solved. Mr. Rocha could also tell us that new pumps have been installed and that these pumps will be tested within two weeks – beginning of December 2015. The reason why the pumps were not tested yet is that they found an improper connection from the UEM’s campus to the pressure line of the municipal sewerage system.
Our second meeting was with Botelho Ferro from CMM. He told us that although the connection from the University has been removed there still is a hole in the pipe that still has to be repaired. Currently UEM campus is served by several septic tanks and the effluent is, at least partly, drained to the ground. Considering the groundwater contamination with Nitrate that has been described in Maputo this situation is far from optimal.

With the issue behind the pumps apparently solved, we had the idea of improving wastewater management at UEM through water reclamation within the campus using the septic tank’s effluent, after appropriate treatment. A couple of days later we talked with Roberto from UEM, an architect responsible for the infrastructure on the UEM campus and he was very excited with the water reclamation idea. We will now investigate how can this be implemented.

The bay of Maputo

In our spare time we of course also discover Maputo, we found out it is a very swinging city as you can easily find out on this clip

And even ordering food in a restaurant here is quite exciting, we never know exactly what we get. Until now, the only Portuguese word we speak fluently is “obrigado”, which is a actually a very useful word. When you are friendly and greet the people here with a smile, they will always be helpful. We are looking forward to the coming period and we hope that we can contribute to a sustainable future of the sewerage system of Maputo.

We will keep you updated. Obrigado,
Jesse and Hidde

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    1. Pingback: It’s always great to return to Mozambique | Sustainable freshwater supply in urbanizing Maputo, Mozambique

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