NATIONWIDE implementation of water projects is designed to increase access to clean and safe water to more people from the current 51.09 to 74 per cent before end of next year, equal priority being given to both rural and urban communities, the government has said.
Speaking in Dodoma yesterday ahead of the National Water Week Festival to be held from March 16 through to 22, at Jamhuri Stadium, the Minister for Water, Prof Jumanne Maghembe said a total of 1,600 water projects are being implemented in different districts in the country.
Apart from improvement of the existing water infrastructure, said the minister, new water projects were underway in different regions. These are located in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma, Singida, Lindi, Mtwara, Shinyanga, Mwanza, Iringa Mbeya, Rukwa, Kigoma, Mara, Tabora among others.
"For example, for many years, the larger part of Singida had undeveloped water infrastructure and lacked extensive water projects to the convenience of consumers. In the next few years, Singida will be supplied with clean and safe water from the current 17 to 95 per cent.
Tabora urban will soon enjoy reliable supply of clean and safe water following development of Igombe dam," Prof Maghembe said.
Clarifying on the relevance of this year's theme which is "Reliable Water Supply and Energy", the minister reminded the communities of the need to protect water sources, avoid destruction of water networks, avoid pumped water for irrigation and conserve water.
Commenting on illegal connections, the minister stressed on the need to speed up ongoing efforts to have strict laws to punish those behind the vice.
"Somebody at Mkwajuni area in Dar es Salaam was arrested and taken to court to answer charges of illegal connection.
He made direct connection to the DAWASA (Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Authority) pipe and flagrantly operated a business. "After being found guilty, he paid 200,000/- in penalties and continued with his business. As an authority we disconnected the water supply.
The law should give an option for jail sentences on top of the penalty," Prof Maghembe said. He appealed to the public to give the necessary contribution in terms of protecting the environment and infrastructure for sustainable water projects bearing in mind that effects of climate change which include long spells of drought, floods, rising sea levels and desertification, among others, are vivid.
Water week which is marked at the national level in Dodama will also see inauguration of at least 13 different water projects by the Vice President, the Prime Minister and the water minister himself.
Asked about efforts to ensure reliable supply of water to the designated capital, Dodoma, Mr Sebastian Warioba, Communication Manager from Dodoma Urban Water and Sanitation Authority (DUWASA) said the current supply from the main Mzakwe deep wells situated on the outskirts of the capital is 54 million litres a day.
"With the growing population of Dodoma together with rapid expansion of construction projects, increase of the supply becomes a necessity.
Therefore, improvement of the main water source together with several others will increase the supply to 61.5 million litres a day.
At the University of Dodoma for example, there are more than 35,000 students and the need for water is apparently increasing," Mr Warioba noted.