In the province of Zambezia, on the central coast of Mozambique, access to drinking water reaches minimum level: 72% of the rural towns are not served by a water supply system. Natural springs, rivers, and a few hand-dug wells are the only source of water available to the population and the lack of adequate water infrastructure and consequent mismanagement of resources contribute to increasing levels of poverty. In agricultural centers, such as Lugela, the situation is further exacerbated by the recent strong demographic growth, as a result of the arrival of many people displaced during the war.
To improve the living conditions of these communities and contribute to the sustainable improvement of water and sanitation sector, the project “Development of water and sanitation infrastructures in the districts of Lugela and Ile – Zambezia” has identified the sources of water available in the area, the infrastructures in need of rehabilitation, the sources and sites suitable for the construction of new infrastructures. The project increased the availability of safe water in the two districts, both for drinking and domestic use, improved the basic hygienic conditions and limited the number of conflicts arising because of the use of resources. The sources rehabilitated and those of new construction, that provide high-quality water, are operated by specially trained community people in charge of maintenance, social awareness on safe water and personal hygiene.
Awareness campaigns and activities to prevent of waste of water have so far resulted in better sanitary conditions for the population of the district as well as an increase in time available for productive activities and education: it’s the time recovered from the long hours necessary to gather water directly from streams or surrounding wells ever more distant. Exactly as predicted by the WHO, which goes so far as to estimate the return on investments in water: for every dollar spent, the economic advantage would be between 7 and 12 dollars.