Four friends from the MIWM meet in Mozambique
This time, the setting for water discussions was Maputo (Mozambique). There were four main characters: Janina, born in Mozambique but currently living in Brisbane. She was in Maputo to spend her holidays with her family and to recall a bit of her childhood and the changes that have occurred in the country since she left. Ronaldo, a Mozambican working at the National Directorate of Water - International Rivers Office, a public institution in Maputo. Lina, an American working in Cape Town on urban water management. Her main reason to be in Maputo was Janina. And finally, myself: Maria. I flew from the winter in Spain for the same reason as Lina. Our connection is simple and strong: a year and a half sharing work, laughs and passion for water during the Masters of Integrated Water Management in Brisbane.
When we met in front of Ronaldo’s job we couldn’t believe that we had made it! We were finally seeing each other again. For our masters project we each headed in different directions not knowing when we were going to meet again. Janina went to East Timor to deal with community management of water supplies; Lina to South Africa to focus on sanitation in informal settlements; Ronaldo analysed the political and institutional constraints of implementing a decentralized water management system in his home country; and me, I dealt with environmental flows in the Murray Darling Basin. We first talked about our lives, later our masters’ project hogged our conversation: how we approached it, the problems we had, how we felt and what we learned. Finally Ronaldo explained how water management worked in Mozambique.
At that point he invited us for a trip to Maputo’s main dam for water supply, BarragenPequenos Libombos Dam at Umbeluzi River Basin. That is a shared river basin between the Kingdom of Swaziland and the Republic of Mozambique and a very small portion within the Republic of South Africa’s Dam. He arranged a meeting with Levi, a local water engineer that would show us around the dam. It was a beautiful day. We learnt that the dam is managed by the South Regional Water Administration, Aguas de Mozambique and it provided water for agriculture, industry and for the city of Maputo and Matola. We discussed with Levi the challenges of defining the price for these different water users. Levi also told us that currently they were identifying other water sources that would provide water for an increasing population. In short, challenges and issues common to many water suppliers in many cities around the world. To sum up, we can say that out of the whole time we spent together, 70% of the conversation revolved around water. We assume we are water geeks! :)