17 March 2014

Tanzania: Kilimanjaro Turns to Boreholes As Natural Spring Water Dwindles

Moshi — CLIMATE change has prompted authorities in Kilimanjaro Region to shift to borehole drilling for stable sources of domestic water supply rather than the natural springs relied upon for quite a while.

The Kilimanjaro Regional Commissioner (RC), Mr Leonidas Gama, arrived at the decision after a day-long tour of water sources in Moshi and Hai districts and consultations with water authority bosses and engineers on the weekend.

Mr Gama said boreholes would supply the region with sufficient water throughout the year unlike springs whose water decrease or even dry up during summer, as it happened last year when production dwindled forcing citizens to be slapped with water rationing for the first time ever.

The RC who was accompanied by the Moshi District Commissioner (DC), Dr Ibrahim Msengi, visited Kilimanjaro Tank where engineers are drilling for water and they told him that the area adjoining Moshi - Arusha Roundabout in Moshi has potential and could produce substantial amount of water.

Moshi Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (MUWSA) Managing Director, Engineer Cyprian Luhemeja told the RC that they embarked on construction of the borehole so as to augment water production from Nsere and Shiri springs.

Regional Water Extraction Officer from Drilling and Dam Construction Agency (DDCA), Mr John Marimu said the area has potential for water as it is the case with many others in the region but they encounter problems of water rights, something the RC and DC promised to sort out as soon as possible.

Mr Marimu said they are yet to establish the exact amount of water underground but it is indisputably huge. Eng Luhemeja took RC's advice as a directive, saying after ascertaining the amount of water they will make sure they tap as much water as possible.

The RC said despite high costs in drilling and possibly putting in place additional tanks for storage, it is worth it as Kilimanjaro will be sure of reliable water throughout the year. He gave an example of Nsere Spring whose production dwindled by half from 12,000 cubic metres recently.

Boreholes are driven by an electric pump that taps into the underground stores of water held in permeable rocks known as aquifers, thanks to modern technology.

The engineers from DDCA assured the RC that they have enough drilling equipments and it was down to him to get water rights in respective areas.

Moshi dwellers relied highly on Nsere and Shiri springs for water and as the RC toured the Shiri, he was told that daily production of the two springs stood at a tune of 20,400m3/ day.

Mr Gama said he was pleased by the authority's efforts as it has surpassed national targets although more is needed to make sure every citizen gets clean and safe water 24 hours a day.

He also ordered the authority to identify many other small natural sources of water which when put together production will rise steadily.

As the region joins others during the Water Week, The RC warned citizens to use water wisely and an operation should be initiated against water theft and those who destroy water infrastructure.

He urged MUWSA to talk with local government leaders as they are important stakeholders in maintaining safety of the infrastructure among the citizens.

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