17 June 2012

Tanzania: Burst Pipe Disrupts Dar es Salaam Water Supply

A burst on the 54 inch water pipe running from lower Ruvu to Dar es Salaam has resulted in a serious water shortage that has hit most parts of the city since Wednesday.

According to Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) Public Relations Officer Ms Teddy Mlengu, engineers and technicians were making efforts to restore water supply after three bursts occurred on the same spot in just a week.

She told the 'Sunday News' on Saturday that the first rapture occurred on Wednesday, but until Friday, repair work had not produced positive results. Hopes that the situation would return to normal on Friday night waned shortly after midnight when technicians from DAWASCO had to repair a leaking joint at Buma village in Ruvu, she said.

She also said this was DAWASCO's second attempt to repair the leaking joint which they had earlier on repaired on Friday morning.

She added that shortly after the first attempt to repair the joint on Friday, there was another burst on the same spot and technicians had to get back there for the third time.

"Their efforts were expected to bear fruit by last night as 70 per cent of Dar es Salaam remained without water for the fourth day," she said. She said DAWASCO engineers and technicians immediately returned to the trouble spot in the wee hours of Saturday, promising that water supply would possibly normalize later in the day or in the night.

The government is addressing the current weaknesses whenever shortage prompted by such pipe accidents occur, said Minister for Water, Prof Jumanne Maghembe recently. Prof Maghembe visited the site after the second rapture on Friday morning and promised that a new 1.8 metre pipe would be installed in September to boost the capacity of the current one which is 1.35 metres wide. Installation work would last for 15 months.

The current pipe was installed in 1976 and engineers have confirmed that its life span expired in 1996, saying, however, that the 75km steel pipe could endure as many as 55 years. Dawasco's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Jackson Midala, said each repair resulting from bursts on the main pipe, usually costs the organization about 90m/-.

He also complained that intermittent bursts often interrupt their water supply schedules to clients. He was optimistic that the new pipeline would also offset the water leakage currently standing at 49 per cent.

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