ePORT Facilitates Improved Water Infrastructure in Mozambique
Population growth in Mozambique’s capital city, Maputo, has outstripped the capacity and geography of Maputo’s water utility infrastructure, which has resulted in a growing number of private water operators (FPAs) who help meet the water needs of residents.
Tetra Tech’s Sustainable Water and Sanitation in Africa (SUWASA) Mozambique team is helping the Government of Mozambique (GoM) to better understand how people living in and around Maputo obtain their domestic water. The project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), supports the GoM’s National Directorate of Water (DNA) as the country expands its formal water utility network and plans to compensate FPAs.
Tetra Tech’s Geospatial Technology Unit, headed by Nicholas Thomas, was asked to inventory existing FPA operations to assist with planning infrastructure development. The team has extensive experience delivering technical information to facilitate water utility infrastructure systems. Their innovative use of a newly created electronic Project Observation, Reporting, and Tracking (ePORT) approach resulted in a customized, affordable, and easy-to- use solution to what otherwise would have been a time-consuming and costly problem.
“Our approach provided USAID with a better program, project-level decision-making ability, and significant cost savings,” Thomas says. “ePORT has a broad application to various Tetra Tech programs and projects, especially those where timely and cost-effective data collection is challenging due to limiting local conditions.”
Good Preparation Simplifies Survey Implementation
Tetra Tech created an electronic version of its inventory questions for FPAs within ePORT, noting which questions were mandatory and which were optional. Thomas trained eight teams of enumerators (two per team) to record the information on iPads.
Using their electronic tools, the enumerators averaged eight FPA surveys a day. The data was transferred to a central cloud-based database using ePORT’s automatic synchronization. This eliminated both manual data downloading and the management of this process in the program’s field offices. From 21,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) away in Burlington, Vermont, Thomas monitored the surveying and data downloading in Maputo via ePORT’s database portal. The system captured electronic signatures and accumulated locational data using GPS coordinates in ePORT mapping.
Technology Facilitates Information Dissemination and Successful Results
ePORT generated a series of data outputs for the GoM’s DNA offices in Maputo. The geographic information systems data file contained all the survey answers and FPA locations, from which ARD created the public FPA Inventory Map webpage. Anyone can access the maps from a web browser, select data points, and access additional information.
The project team collected information on 816 FPAs and completed 96 percent of the surveys in just six weeks. They learned that only 52 percent of FPAs were licensed and that 190,000 children under age 15—15 percent of that population—had no access to treated water within greater Maputo.
ePORT introduced a more efficient approach to surveying in Mozambique. The data identified well depths, water quality, groundwater table depths, and saltwater intrusion, which helped the GoM establish drought contingency plans.
“It combined speedy recovery of data and streamlined management with simplified presentation capabilities to the client, all executed with less cost than paper-based surveys,” Thomas explains.
Jan Auman, Tetra Tech International Development Services president, lauded the effort, saying, “Nick’s pioneering work developing tools to address critical water needs, such as ePORT in Mozambique, is indicative of Tetra Tech’s commitment and passion to provide practical, sound science; innovation; and stakeholder engagement for sustainable development.”
View the ePORT mapping tool at http://bit.ly/suwasa.