Tanga — When a major Sewerage system rehabilitation project was undertaken in Tanga a few years ago, followed by a subsequent campaign to encourage more people residing in areas where the system passes to be connected to the system, there was hope that a t more residents would join the system and discard outdated pit latrine and other sewerage systems.
The target was to increase number of customers using the system to 20 percent by 2010 from 16 per cent connected to the system.
However, things have not turned out the way they have been expected. The number of connections has risen by 290 to 2,490 but the percentage has dropped to only 9.3 per cent of the Tanga residents connected to the 33.6 kilometers system.
The current system has a capacity of 5,000 connections.The UWASA managing director, Eng Joshua Mgeyekwa explains the drop of percentage due to a rise in the population while a number of new residential areas springing up and the sewerage system remaining unchanged.
He also pointed out that the number of connections has failed to increase because of people citing financial inability to undertake the necessary changes in their domestic systems. "This is despite announcements of offers for connection charges support for over four years since the system was rehabilitated and expanded. People who wished to be connected only paid tshs.5, 000 with UWASA footing the bulk of the charges at Tshs. 120,000.
The authority is now upbeat on what to do raise the number of Tanga city residents using the sewerage services and stop using the pit latrine. the level of environmental sanitation by constructing sewerage treatment facilities.
Eng. Mgeyekwa said that they were pinning their hopes on rehabilitation and expansion of the system on a Water supply and sewerage services improvement project scheduled to start from July 2012 under the World Bank Supported Water Sector Development Program (WSDP).
"Implementation of the program is one of the major strategies being used by the Authority in solving various challenges facing provision of water and sewerage services in the city and would be in line with this year's Water Week theme 'water for Cities: Responding to urban challenges'," Eng. Mgeyekwa said.
According to reports from the organizers of this year's event internationally, UN-HABITAT and UN-Water, this year's objective focuses international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.
"It aims at spotlighting and encouraging governments, organizations, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing the challenges of urban water management which include increase in then urban population and the need for increasing water and sanitation services," the reports said.
Most of the world's population lives in cities: at 3.3 billion people and the urban landscape continues to grow and 38 percent of the growth is represented by expanding slums, while the city populations are increasing faster than city infrastructure can adapt.
Eng. Mgeyekwa said that detailed engineering design work for improvement of water and sewerage services by demand up to 2025 has been completed and the contractor is expected to start actual work form July 2012,, he explained.
Implementation of the project, the Authority Chief Executive said is part of the implementation of Tanzania's Development Vision 2025 which aims at achieving an absence of abject poverty and attaining a high quality of life for all people by 2025.
Reports from the authority point that even in central city areas of Ngamiani in the Tanga City 700 houses are still having pit latrine despite the system passing in the area.
The authority is facing the challenge of changing old worn out clay sewerage system pipes laid in the 1950s. About 30 percent of the current system (or Km 11) is worn out and desperately in need of overhaul to increase the efficiency of the system.
Use of the sewerage system would enhance the City's cleanliness and assure the people of the city living without such infectious diseases as cholera, he said, adding that it was sad to not that people living in areas where the Sewerage system passes were still opting to use pit latrines and letting sewerage flow to city roads.
The project could therefore increase the percentage of people in the city connected to the sewerage system and raise the city sanitation situation. Sanitation is the foundation of health, dignity, and development. Increased sanitation access especially for poor people, is fundamental for reaching all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).