30 November 2012

Tanzania: Water Management Remains Vital for Economic Development

EXPERTS are now looking for practical ways for development and conservation of water resources management in the region.

The experts, who belong to the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) met early last week to discuss, review reports on the development of the water Resources Management plan phase I for the Lake Victoria Basin. The meeting was facilitated by LVBC that has contracted a consultancy Firm BRL and France in association with Don Consult, Tanzania to develop the water resources management plan phase I for the implementation of the Lake Victoria Basin in September 2012.

The consultant has now submitted to the meeting inception a report, which was subjected to review by technical experts from partner states and the progress to date a contract signed in September 2012. The inception report was submitted in October 2012.

The LVBC Executive Secretary Dr Canisius Kanangire said that over the last decade, it has become evident that lake Victoria Basin's landscapes, ecosystems and the human population are threatened by both natural and human persuaded factors and these have made it a top riverine ecosystem in the world at present under considerable threat.

He noted that the experts' inception report review on the development of the water Resources Management plan phase I for the lake Victoria Basin is a legal requirement in Tanzania to put in place plans that can help curb the rampant water need and develop the water resources management.

All riparian countries are facing the same water resources management plan as the basin's population has increased and demand for resources from the basin and wastes generated from the use of basin resources. He said that as a result, the basin has witnessed fast degradation, decline of water quality and quantity, land degradation, Lake Victoria level decline with negative consequences to navigation and fisheries, propagation of invasive species like water hyacinth and increase in incidence of absolute poverty.

Dr Kanangire stressed that extensive catchment degradation within the Mau forest complex in the republic of Kenya and accelerating land degradation in the republics of Burundi, Rwanda and forest and water land degradation of the republic of Uganda and the united republic of Tanzania as well as renaissance of water hyacinth, are evidence of the magnitude of the problems the basin is facing.

The Regional project coordinator, Lake Victoria environmental management project phase II, Dr Raymond Mngodo said that Major sources of these problems are linked to insufficient policy and legislative regimes and the absence of a local institution charged with the mandate coordinating the management of Lake Victoria Basin.

The inadequate investment also has been said to orchestrate the situation to promote sustainable and diversified livelihood strategies and inadequate public awareness on the need to engage in sustainable natural resources management. He added that there was also inadequate application of scientific knowledge to manage the complex ecosystems.

The above challenges, he added, were compounded by the low levels of coverage for safe and affordable drinking water and basic sanitation. Secondly, there was also pressure from national economic sectors like hydropower and irrigation, the need to define and implement sustainable utilization of lake waters that allow for the maintenance of ecological waters flows.

Last was the trans-boundary characteristics of some of the basin's major water resources. These create major demand for water resources management plan. Dr Mngodo said that in view of the above, Lake Victoria environmental management project phase II in one of its components, sought to develop a regional Water Resources Management (WRMP) for national consideration of the different uses of water resources in a holistic manner.

Through development, water resource management plan would improve water allocation and management decisions that consider the implications of each water use on others. The plan will also ensure that overall social economic goals are achieved, including stimulating long-term interventions that promote sustainable economic and biodiversity conservation in the basin.

A participant of the meeting told the 'Daily News' that the stake-holders had met to discuss and assess the member states experts' development water resource management plan to see if the plan matched water resources demand in the riparian countries.

He said that the objective of the meeting was to carry out an institutional assessment and stakeholders analysis and identify needs for capacity building. The meeting was in terms of examining stake-holder capacities for participation in the management of water resource, and consider the existing national and regional policies, laws and regulations and institutional arrangements for water resources management in the basin in coordination with consultants working on those issues.

The issues for consideration during the meeting were review and provision of inputs to inception report, validate the report and discuss and agree on the road map towards finalization of the consultancy.

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