Angola Wacu Kungo

MBB Tasked with Drainage Network

MBB Rehab and expand of drainage network

Pic 3

MBB Drainage

MBB Drainage

MBB Drainage

The machine successfully cleaned the 15km of major outfall drain and was key to the success of the project.

Rehab and Expand of Drainage

Pic 9 Pic 10 Pic 11

MBB was tasked with supervising the re-habilitating and expanding of a drainage network to help drain the Wacu-Kungo valley and reclaim the former agricultural lands.

Project Details

At the end of 2003, MBB were approached by Era Optima Lda an Israeli company registered in Angola to assist with a drainage problem in the Wacu-Kungo valley in central Angola.

This initial contact was initiated by Rob Wooding and associates who had done the aerial photography for the project proposed by Era Optima. The first visit by MBB to the site took place in May 2004, and was followed by a brief report.

A second visit took place in February 2005 and was followed by a second short report. Out of these actions MBB were appointed in April 2005, to source suitable machinery and provide site staff and office back-up, to achieve the effective drainage of the Wacu-Kungo valley.

The Wacu-Kungo region was a large agricultural region in Portugese Colonial days when it was know as Santa Comba. The agricultural soils are on the flood plain of the Cussoi River, a tributary of the Queve River and are part of the elevated flood plain that characterises this region.

The Portuguese Colonials had drained a gross area of approximately 10 000 ha of land for agricultural production, particularly dairy. The agricultural area sits astride the main Luanda-Huambo road and with the collapse of Colonisation in the mid 1970’s and the onset of the Civil war in Angola this region saw some serious fighting. (the incursion of South African Troops in 1975 reached just past the project area).

As a result of the civil war the drainage network installed by the Portuguese, received no maintenance for over 30 years and in fact by the time MBB inspected the site, many of the drains had been deliberately blocked with fish traps, to provide a source of protein for the local people.

The overall project proposed by Era Optima was to rebuild and expand the old agricultural villages and introduce the communal agriculture system used successfully in the kibbutz and Moshav system in Israel.

Project vision

The agricultural land being re-settled with former combatants from both sides in the civil war. This project is termed the Aldeia – Nova project. Additional to the project is a large agro-industrial area for the processing of produce as well as a commercial farming enterprise.

MBB’s specific task was to reclaim the former agricultural lands and to do this MBB specified a plant team of 10 excavators, a D6 bulldozer, a specialist dredger plus the required support equipment such as workshop / service vehicles, support vehicles, office equipment etc.


MBB facilitated the purchase and import of the equipment and placed a full time engineer on site to manage the operation. The first machines arrived on site in August 2005 and commenced work immediately, the site was remote and while only 450km from Luanda, the state of the road was such that this was a 12 hour drive.

Numerous Challenges

Many problems were experienced in the very wet conditions and very innovative use of resources, for example operating excavators on logs in very wet conditions, were required to keep the project on track for target deadlines.

The Dredger

The dredger arrived on site at the end of 2005 and was finally commissioned and placed in operation in February 2006. Again innovation was required to enable this machine to be launched in the correct place, with access roads completely inundated, the machine was lifted into a roadside drain and floated to its area of operation.

The dredger was researched extensively by MBB’s engineers and eventually an IMS type 5012LP machine with a weed master head was specified as being the most suitable for the conditions.

The machine is self propelled using the patented starwheel drive system and the weed master head was required to deal with severe vegetative clogging of the drains.


Due to the success of this operation and the extremely high level of project support given by the manufacturers, MBB have become the preferred consultants for IMS in the Southern African region and have successfully assisted IMS in placing three more machines in the region.

Emergency measures

As the effect of the drainage repairs and cleaning became evident the work became progressively easier and MBB’s estimate of a three year project became a reality with the completion of MBB’s on site involvement in December 2007, two years and four months after work commenced on site.

This was followed up with a formal completion report and manual for future maintenance. MBB are approached from time to time by the client to assist with consulting services for on-going maintenance.

Construction Stats

The success of any project has to be measured in the final results. In the case of The Waku-Kungo project some 10 000ha of land was drained of which 7500 ha was prime commercial arable land formally cultivated by Portuguese colonial farmers and is now being put back into production.

Additional to this, sections of the road network that had been inundated and impassable for years, are now usable at all times of year.
The project statistics are as follows:

  • Distance of drains worked = 1342km
  • Number of structures repaired = 204
  • Machine hours worked = 33 513 hrs
  • Diesel usage = 494 990 l

In addition to the above, jobs were created for numerous local people to continue with the maintenance and cleaning of the drains as well as the opening up areas of arable land for informal, market gardening and subsistence agriculture.