Mwanza — KAHAMA Shinyanga Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (Kashwasa) faces unprecedented shortage of potential customers, and officials are desperate to reverse the trend.
Just last week, the Kashwasa's Managing Director, Eng. Clement Kivegalo, was quoted by the 'Daily News' as saying his company produces what he described as substantial amount of water supply to target population, but the problem is, "It is a matter of fact that our water is being underutilized because we pump out a lot of water, but there are very few customers connected to the services, and this trend seems to raise our running costs."
Officials say Kashwasa's main objective is to pump water from Lake Victoria to urban centres in Kahama and Shinyanga regions through a long pipeline that runs from the shores of the Lake Victoria to the target areas. The establishment of Kashwasa was in accordance with the Waterworks Act Cap 272.
Kashwasa is currently based in Shinyanga municipality and its main customers include Shinyanga Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Kahama Water Supply and Sewerage Authority and at least 41 village water committees located in Misungwi and Kwimba district, in Mwanza region, says Eng. Kivegalo.
Establishment of the scheme is part of the Tanzania government endeavour to provide clean water to the people in need. Feasibility study and design of the scheme started in 2003, and were completed in the year 2008 at the cost of 254bn/-. The project was inaugurated in May 2009 by President Jakaya Kikwete.
Experts say the scheme was initially designed to cater for 420,000 people by supplying 80,000,000 litres of water per day, taking into consideration that the water demand keeps on increasing. Thus provisions were made in the design to increase to up to 1,000,000 people consumers expected to use at least 120,0000,000 litres of water per day by the year 2025.
However, it seems that such hypothesis has not yet realized targeted goal as water remains plenty in supply but the demand is staggering. Eng. Kivegalo says that the authority previous supply targeted four districts which include Kwimba, Misungwi, Kahama and municipality of Shinyanga.
The Kashwasa plant is located at Ihelele sub- village in Misungwi district, some 120 kilometres northwest of Shinyanga Municipality, and 100 kilometres from Lake Victoria shores. The Managing Director says Ihelele plant has a capacity to produce about 80 million litres of water per day, but the water that is being consumed doesn't exceed 18 million litres.
"We don't use the two pumps because we don't sell water to individuals directly. We only sell water to the district authorities who in turn sell it to potential customers in respective areas," explained Eng. Kivegalo. "Our relationship with customers is governed by the Bulk water purchase agreement signed by both parties.
More than 90 per cent of water we supply is consumed by urban dwellers and the remaining 10 per cent is consumed by rural population. Kashwasa is also regulated by the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura)," says Eng. Kivegalo.
The engineer says the authority serves a population of 400,000 people. Average demand is approximated to stand at 31,000,000 litres per day, while consumption for all customers per day stands at an average of 18,000,000 litres. "This is a very serious challenge for us as we are obliged to bear all fixed costs at 23 per cent consumption level.
The only pragmatic way to address this challenge is by connecting more customers and escalate consumption of water at least 50 per cent of the installed capacity," says Eng Kivegalo. "The difference in water demand and actual consumption is due to the fact that distribution network especially in rural areas is not adequate to cover entire population within a walking distance of 400 metres from the water point as per national policy of 2002.
Each village has only one public kiosk which serves a maximum of 500 people per day," says Eng. Kivegalo. Officials say Shinyanga and Kahama towns have a rectangular storage tanks which receive water by gravity from the main storage tank at Ihelele.
Each tank has a capacity of 18,000,000 litres. In both towns, there are post chlorination for online monitoring of chloride residual to ensure that it is always within acceptable range to safeguard water from any pathogenic organisms. Lake Victoria Basin Board Chairman Sariro Mwita who also visited the plant few days ago thinks that the authority has to a great extent succeeded to fulfil its core responsibility as, "Kashwasa is actually doing a very good job to serve its customers despite the shortage of customers currently facing it."
The other challenges facing the authority include, sabotages on the transmission pipeline; frequent breakdowns of washout and air valves, especially with butterfly valve types; inadequate revenue collection to meet operational costs and lack of tools and equipment for carrying out repair and maintenance activities, according to Eng. Kivegalo.
Major achievements recorded include, improvement of security in pipelines' distribution areas as it was reported that the number of vandalism related incidents have gone down from 79 per cent to less than nine (9) per cent between 2009 and 2011 respectively. The authority bears all operational costs with exception of half of the electric bills which is paid by the government through the Minsitry of Water, he explained.
Kashwasa's future plans include, extending the water distribution network to other areas such, as Tabora municipality and other small towns of Igunga, Nzega, Kagongwa, Isaka, Tindu and Muhunze. Under the same initiative, all villages located within a distance of 12 kilometres of the main distribution pipeline will also be connected to the scheme, says Eng. Kivegalo.