History of the Wastewater Sector in Mauritius
The evolution in the wastewater sector started when the present Plaine Wilhems system was constructed in the 1960’s. Major improvements were also brought to the Port Louis system in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. In the late 19th century, the first wastewater connection was effected in Port Louis as it was the most densely populated urban area in Mauritius at that time. However, the system did not provide for the treatment of wastewater and all effluents were discharged into the sea.
In order to sustain its rapid economic growth and preserve the country’s fragile environment, Mauritius had to address environmental issues related to demographic growth and rapid changes in the use of water and land resources. In response to this need, the country’s first National Environmental Action Plan (NEAP) was prepared in 1990. The document identified wastewater infrastructure as one of the major factors contributing to environmental degradation. In 1994, a Sewerage Master Plan was drafted. It provided an overall framework and strategy for improvements in the sanitation sector, identifying a series of projects such as the St Martin Treatment Plant Extension contracts, Rehabilitation of Infrastructure on CHA Estates, Plaines Wilhems Sewerage Projects, Montagne Jacquot Sewerage Project, Baie du Tombeau sewerage Project among others to be realized over the next 20 years (1994-2013). It also provided recommendations for setting guidelines for the sector enhancement through institutional, financial, and operational management development. The sewerage Master Plan presented a comprehensive framework to appraise wastewater pollution problems and to move ahead with a programme for planning, financing, building, staffing, operating and maintaining projects to resolve wastewater problems. Subsequently, the Wastewater Management Authority was created on 30th August 2001, following the proclamation of the Wastewater Management Authority Act 2000.
In 2012, Government has approved the new Sewerage Master Plan, whose objective is to define the programme for the development of the wastewater facilities in order to meet the sector needs for the 20-year period 2014-2033.