Frame analysis for the water restrictions in Maputo

by Teresa

Teresa, our latest MSc student, under the supervision of Adriano,  looked into the water restrictions in Maputo and how these have been managed by the different institutions. She has her defense next week you can read all about here work here below, also: make sure you check her thesis.

Since 2015, the government of Mozambique has imposed seasonal restrictions on drinking water supply in Maputo. Several initiatives aiming at solving the problem are currently being implemented or still in the discussion or planning phase. This study tackles the problem from an interpretative policy analysis perspective, mapping the different prevailing discourses on the water crisis and understanding the interplay between them. During a two-month fieldwork period in Maputo, I employed qualitative data collection methods that consisted of in-depth interviews with stakeholders (donor agencies, NGOs, researchers and government bodies). Information derived from the analysis of project documents, reports and articles provided the necessary context and background. This gave me the ability to scrutinize the different ways in which actors involved in the urban water sector frame the problem, the way it is contested, and how different framings include different solutions.

The study distinguished five different framings, of which three blame the problem on human causes: transboundary water management, urban planning and corruption. One framing, which is that of poor water management, acknowledges the natural processes underway while emphasizing their exacerbation by human factors. The last and most dominant framing is that of climate change, which implies the depoliticisation of the issue as it fully places the problem under natural causes. The proposed solution under this framing in order to overcome the crisis is that of the finalization of a dam, the “Corumana”. Based on this, the study concludes that the climate change framing tends to shift the attention away from the existing managerial issues, mainly those related to the mismanagement of water resources by different stakeholders.

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