6 April 2014

Tanzania: Lame Excuses Given for Water Projects Collapse

WATER projects, often allocated large sums of money during installation, have largely received pitiful attention by the community rendering more than 50 per cent of the projects countrywide nonfunctional, research findings reveal.

The research established that some of the projects were abandoned due to lack of simple repair of water pipes or replacement of a broken spare parts for a machine used to pump water from a water source.

The Netherlands based Non-profit organisation which has been working in Tanzania since 1971 (SNV) carried out a water point mapping survey in 10 districts in Tanzania between 2007 and 2009 and discovered that only 52 per cent of the existing water facilities were functioning.

Senior Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Advisor from SNV, Fredrick Mpendazoe said the findings therefore, highlighted the importance of rehabilitating existing water points and helping communities to cultivate a sense of ownership and develop a culture of good care to community development projects.

"The situation regarding sanitation is similarly bad. For example, the school water and sanitation mapping carried out in 2009 in 18 districts revealed that 70 per cent do not have adequate sanitation facilities. The ramifications of inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) go far beyond thirst and dirty hands," Mpendazoe clarified.

Poor water and sanitation, he added, significantly impact children's health and consequently their education especially girls. Schools with proper water and sanitation attract and retain students, particularly girls," reads part of the SNV report.

The findings by the researchers can be confirmed by the comprehensive 2013 data base compiled by the Ministry of Water and readily available in the website HYPERLINK "http://www.wp.maji. go.tz"www.wp.maji.go.tz.

The status of every single Water Point (WP) in every village in this country is documented and reasons for non-functionality of water projects well detailed. Reasons given to render water projects worthless include, broken taps, tank leaking, lack of rain, pipe broken, broken pipe line, water sources damaged, and pump stolen among others.

For example, at Buteko village, Bangwe Ward, Kigoma Urban district a water facility is out of order for explanation that the village water community removed the pump. Again, in Mafia district, Coast region at a village of Kiegeni with a water point known as Ukunda, the community is not enjoying the supply simply due to a broken hand pump.

At Pamila village, Matendo ward in Kigoma villagers go without clean and safe water simply because a water source was damaged.

In recognition of unbelievable disregard of water projects by some members of the community, recently the Prime Minister, Mizengo Pinda, spoke strongly against a few individuals who frustrate government efforts to supply clean and safe water to the community.

"Stern measures including legal actions should be taken against anyone found meddling with water facilities. Village community water committees should also exercise transparency in their accounts to avoid misappropriation of water funds which is meant to sustain water projects," Pinda said when inaugurating a grand water project in Kibaigwa Township in Dodoma region recently.

However, the data provided by the Ministry of Water has revealed some of the district councils which deserve commendations for keeping village water projects running to the convenience of consumers. Siha district in Kilimanjaro region is one of the places with nearly 90 per cent of its established water projects functioning.

These are found in villages like Ngaronyi, Nsherehehe, Mese, Mowonjamu and many others in Levish ward.

During recent inspection and inauguration of water projects in Dodoma region, where Water Week was observed at national level, the minister for Water, Prof. Jumanne Maghembe, was informed that some 800m/- initially set aside for water projects in the newly established Chemba district remained unused for explanation that the modalities weren't concluded.

Chemba district was separated from Kondoa district in Dodoma region. Prof. Maghembe ordered immediate release of funds for water projects in Chemba district and issued directives to all district councils to do away with lame excuses that denied people the right to access clean and safe water.

The minister underscored the need for water engineers at the ministry's headquarters to act promptly to address water-related challenges facing communities as some were within the capacity of local authorities.

"Cultivation near water projects is totally unacceptable and the society should take good care of the established water projects for a guaranteed supply of clean and safe water. Destruction of the infrastructure is equally offensive," Maghembe insisted.

Questionable expertise among contractors was another issue brought up during water week as some failed to comply with the required standards and handed- over water projects out of the acceptable timeframe.

The legislator from Chemba district (Chemba) who is also the Deputy Minister for Information, Culture, Youth and Sports, Juma Nkamia, spoke strongly against poorly completed water projects which do not bring any relief to the community.

The observation by the Deputy Minister echoed support by Iddi Isambi (58), resident of Chemba, who said they remained without water just because the pipes which were laid down by a contractor were too narrow and loosely connected such that once the diesel pump was started, the pipes burst within no time.

Mwajabu Mieka (60) from the same area accepted that there has never been a serious awareness campaign to educate the community on the need to conserve water sources for the survival of water projects.

"Nothing can be compared with water. Without water no life. Searching for water in distant locations is dangerous. We wake up early in the morning and return home late in the afternoon.

Two women from this village lost their lives after being eaten by a lion. Protection of water projects is our obligation," Mwajabu explained.

"The solution to the water crisis is not simple. It is a big problem that needs a big answer. The water crisis is only going to end when we all work together with each other, with other NGOs, with the communities that we seek to serve, and with YOU. Only through deep commitment and collaboration, will we be able to solve the water crisis," the statement by SNV concludes.

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