WATER sector key players are concerned about what they have termed mismanagement of the resource saying it continues to deny the nation abundant revenues and is a potential environmental hazard.
A 'Sunday News' survey in Dar es Salaam and its suburbs has established that there is an increase in the number of water wells which, though a relief to the consumers, poses a risk to the environment. An expert in well drilling, Mr Hasan Abedi, said that ineffective regulations have contributed to haphazard drilling in areas like Kariakoo, Ilala and Tabata, to mention only a few areas in Dar es Salaam.
"Had the water authorities provided guidance to well drilling, people would have limited the number of wells," he said, adding that the demand for water is high as the authorities have failed to satisfy their clients. According to Aqua Well Drilling Co Ltd official Mr Fahil Hemed, his company offers water survey services from both the Drilling and Dam Construction Agency and the Water Resource Directorate.
"Often the cost of drilling varies from region to region, though in Dar es Salaam it remains the cheapest, ranging between 5m/- to 10m/-. Commenting on possible restriction of haphazard drilling of wells, a Wami basin engineer said the infiltration of water to replace the extracted amount in the city of Dar es Salaam was non-existent.
"The recharging of water mechanism through the hydrological cells cannot take place in the city areas when it rains," he said.
He said the city centre and Kariakoo areas have concrete pavements, buildings and tarmac roads. This creates obstruction of rain water infiltration to replenish the water resources extracted from the ground.
"If such drilling continues, it can have dire consequences including sinking of the land," he warned. Commenting, an official with the Wami Ruvu Basin Water office, Mr Mshuda Wilson, said nine basin offices under the Water Resources Directorate whose activity is to regulate water resources have been established.
"In principle, Wami office regulates water resources in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions to ensure surface and ground water is properly managed," he said. He said the basin was creating borehole inventory for areas surrounding Tanzania Breweries Limited, while research and surveys continue to be conducted in Sharif Shamba, Kasulus, Mission Quarter, Mafuriko, Ilala Quarter, Msimbazi Bondeni and Karume areas.
On the haphazard drilling of wells in Kariakoo and Kisutu areas, he said that the experts have called for government intervention to stop it. "Even in the water legislation it is indicated that such drilling should not be allowed, as it can have dire consequences including sinking of the land," he said.
Meanwhile, the legal officer who wanted not to be mentioned in the Water Resources Directorate has said that there were two laws enacted which are Water Supply and Sanitation Act and Water Resources Management Act of 2009 governing the industry.
"Currently we are going on with sensitization and education on the issue of compliance in the communities," said the lawyer.
But she also said that there were regulations being written to support the Acts.
She also said that the major challenge in implementing these laws and regulations lies on availability of resources. "Despite all these efforts to regulate the water resources, one of the major challenges facing the Directorate is lack of cooperation from owners of the wells," she said.
"Those who fear to register their wells are reluctant to pay the registration fees," she said. The Survey further revealed that there are many private water drilling companies based in Dar es Salaam.