Following surveys recently carried out in Maputo estuary, a survey with the purpose of acquiring data required to characterize the estuary was carried out in December 1983. After reviewing the hydrology of the tributaries to the estuary, the parameters to be monitored - salinity, conductivity, temperature, and dissolved oxygen, are referred. Finally, taking also into account previous information available, an evaluation of the results, and an assessment of the estuary are done. The estuary can be classified as well mixed, since the vertical salinity gradients found are small. The Umbeluzi estuary, however, is partially mixed. Temperature decreases with the depth, and when moving downstream. Some pollution was found along the lower part of the estuary, probably due to the discharge of domestic and industrial wastewater, which brings the dissolved oxygen figures below the saturation level. As for the upper part of the estuary, the dissolved oxygen levels are not only dependent on the pollutant load, but also on the growing of algae, which by photosynthesis under daylight produce oxygen that dissolves into the water. Quite often, the dissolved oxygen figures are above the saturation level. The growth of algae could be due to the input of phosphorus and nitrogen brought in by the tributary streams. A pollutant load discharged upstream could be the reason for some pollution seen in the Umbeluzi estuary.

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