Assessing the costs and consumer behaviour of increasing water connections in low-income areas of Maputo, Mozambique
Águas da Região de Maputo, the water utility serving the capital of Mozambique, has carried out water network expansion projects in peri-urban areas in partnership with the not-for-profit company Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor. This research analyses data from 10 low-income neighbourhoods (bairros) which received network extensions between 2009 and 2014 enabling the propagation of individual domestic water connections. Data from the water utility and 900 household questionnaires undertaken in 2012 and 2017 is used to assess the financial costs and resulting customer behaviour of increasing coverage to the poor. The analysis shows a 78 per cent increase in customers in those neighbourhoods between 2010 and 2016, with the new customers paying a reduced connection fee of 2,000 MZN ($77). The cost of the distribution network extension to the utility is estimated as USD$48.50 per household (2017 prices). The resulting average monthly billed consumption was 9.29 m3 in 2016, corresponding to average monthly bills of 304 MZN ($4.85). The outcomes were positive and encouraging with 83 per cent of households reporting having a water connection, although 32 per cent of customers were consuming below the minimum monthly billed consumption of 5 m3. Bill collection efficiency increased from 50 per cent in 2009 to 80 per cent in 2016 in the newly served low-income areas.