24 September 2012

Tanzania: Water Availability Is Always Good News

THERE was exciting news at the weekend that Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa) has signed a contract worth 120bn/- with Cino-Hydro, a Chinese company, for installation of water pipes from Lower Ruvu to Dar es Salaam.

The project, which is scheduled for completion after 15 months, will boost city water supply from the current 180,000 to 270,000 cubic metres. At the moment, there are four waters sources in the vicinity of the city which supply a total of 300,000 cubic metres. However, demand in the city, with a soaring population that tips five million people, keeps galloping.

The average demand for water now stands at 450,000 cubic metres. We should state at the outset that water needs go, by far, beyond domestic use. Water shortage does not generate smarting thirsts alone. In cities, municipalities and towns, diseases associated with unsanitary conditions prevail mostly in congested places where squatters, mainly the poor, live in filthy conditions with no clean piped water. Here swarms of houseflies roam at will, spreading diseases.

Unfortunately, unsanitary conditions are often the source of fast killer diseases such as cholera, dysentery and typhoid which, invariably, erupt where there are no good pit latrines, toilets or lavatories or water. The situation gets even much worse especially if there is a shortage of water.

It is encouraging, therefore, to hear that a Chinese company will install water pipes lining the populous city to the water source at Lower Ruvu. Such sanitation efforts will only come to fruition if clean water is provided. We are aware that the nation has numerous water projects in various stages of implementation but some have stalled.

Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens hundreds of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more in this country. Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions.

Children - and particularly girls - are denied their right to education because their schools lack decent sanitation facilities, a problem that has been mentioned in Parliament umpteen times. It is unthinkable that fifty years after Independence, over 75 per cent of the population still lacks improved sanitation facilities and that most people use unsafe drinking water sources. It is high time authorities concerned took notice.

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