The Business Year

AO23_EN_EPAL_ManueldaCruz_pic

ANGOLA - Economy

Manuel da Cruz

CEO, EPAL

Bio

Manuel da Cruz “graduated in civil engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, and has an MBA in project management from BBS – Escola Internacional de Negócios / ESAD – Escola Superior de Administração e Business. He joined EPAL in December 2017, appointed by presidential decree. On February 2, 2022, he was appointed to serve as chairman of the board of directors.

Manuel da Cruz “graduated in civil engineering from Instituto Superior Técnico de Lisboa, and has an MBA in project management from BBS – Escola Internacional de Negócios / ESAD – Escola Superior de Administração e Business. He joined EPAL in December 2017, appointed by presidential decree. On February 2, 2022, he was appointed to serve as chairman of the board of directors.

"We want to bring the water system to those areas that are in need, including Ícolo and Bengo, which has a marked shortage of water."

Manuel da Cruz, CEO of EPAL, talks to TBY about supplying the country with water, ensuring quality, and plans for the future.

EPAL is a public service provider that collects, treats, distributes, and markets drinking water to the population. What are the current projects within the company?

EPAL is focused to the capture, distribution, and commercialization of water. EPAL is made up of three main water supply systems—the third system is made up of the Luanda southeast and south straights—and we also have other isolated systems, one of which supplies Kilamaba, Calumbo, and the Bom Jesus society. This set of systems consists of 14 water treatment plants and 32 distribution centers. We have an average production of 780,000cbm per day that supplies the city of Luanda. Of the different projects that we have in progress today, one has to do with the Candelabro phase 3 project. We are at the commissioning stage, and this treatment plant will have around 210,000cbm. It supplies the centrality of Sequele and other cities below Luanda. We also have another project, the Cassaque project, which is a pumping station for raw water and feeds our system. In terms of production capacity, we have Luanda Sudeste, with 216,000cbm per day, and Luanda South with 57,000cbm; however, all this capacity comes down to an average of 3.5cbm per second. The Cassaque pumping station by itself produces about 4,600cbm per second, and with this project there was a duplication, increasing to 9,100cbm per second due to the channels that go from Capiapia to Cassaque, which allows for an expansion in the future. Apart from these two structural projects, we are working on making improvements to current projects. In the past, we had the Bita and Quilonga project. In 2014, public tenders were held, but there was a need to reformulate these tenders. Bita’s financing will be guaranteed by the World Bank and BPI France. It is a system with a production capacity of 3,000cbm per second; at first, we had calculated a production quantity, but for this first phase, we had a reduced capacity. We already have distribution in the two largest areas of population growth in Luanda, so the Bita system will also reinforce water capacity where it is most needed. Quilonga, meanwhile, with a capacity of 6,000cbm per second, was started by a credit line by the Chinese government. Four of the lots are owned by the Chinese company, and we were unable to move forward with work on the main lot with a treatment plant. For now, we have redefined the means of financing. The second phase of this funding will then continue onto the project constitution process. These two systems will then add about 790,000cbm, and we will have the capacity to meet the water demand for the population of Luanda.

How do you ensure the quality of the water that you supply to the Angolan population?

We fulfill all the requirements of the World Health Organization. Our first concern is to ensure that the turbidity level is within the required standard. Throughout the water treatment process, we take great care, from capitation to distribution. We reduce the chlorine gas, so that the water is disinfected, then we proceed with the flotation process and sedimentation to eliminate all the microorganisms in the water. Finally, we have the filtration process. We pass this water to a contact tank, where this water is filtered. However, this water, until it reaches the population’s homes, undergoes changes, caused by outside forces such as vandalism of infrastructure. However, we do everything possible to guarantee that the water that is supplied to consumers’ homes is of a high quality. We have made some investments in projects that are already underway. In Viana at Kilometer 9, there was a distribution network, but no water, and we developed interconnections with existing networks so that there could be a supply of water. We are currently in the testing phase. Last year, we also built around 15,000 water current connections. In 2022, we had to create a reservoir for one of these stations. We have other areas that are also undergoing the same process. We have built a distribution center in Centro Vila Flor, where there was no water network, as well as several other places.

How are you employing technology to develop a new way for the Angolan community to pay their water bills?

This technology serves the population. Initially, we had some difficulties in the past, whereby our system was outdated and could not always make the connection involving consumer payments to our control system. However, through a WhatsApp technology, we developed a system where consumers could check their accounts and statements, and through a series of other applications, they can make payments. These are the technologies that we are using to facilitate this process.

What investments and projects does EPAL have for the future?

We want the Bita and Quilonga projects to continue on their current trajectories, which may take another four years to complete. We want to bring the water system to those areas that are in need, including Ícolo and Bengo, which has a marked shortage of water. Viana is an area that has been growing significantly, with industrial areas, which includes a high consumption of water in these areas. We want to bring raw water to these industrial zones and also supply potable water to the population. We have a project called Pro Agua to revitalize EPAL that is scheduled to start 2023 and will improve our structure in terms of production, improvement of equipment, greater automation so that we can reduce human contact during our production, better distribution, and control technology so that we can better understand our losses during the distribution process, which is currently about 60% with technical losses. We want to further modernize EPAL. When all these projects are completed, in a few years, we will have a completely different EPAL that is much more autonomous.

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