20 July 2014

Tanzania: Illegal Water Connections Cost Dawasco Billions

AS the government strives to ensure adequate supply of water to Dar es Salaam residents, recent findings confirm existence of a clandestine and well-coordinated network of non-revenue water suppliers,causing loss to water authorities to the tune of 4bn/- annually.

The Deputy Minister for Water, Amos Makalla who led an inspection team in Dar es Salaam recently witnesseda dozen of illegal connections in Kigogo Sambusa, Ilala Municipality being the most notorious whereby one of the five arrested suspects admitted to have cleverly been selling more than 300,000 litres of water a day.

Another suspect from the same location was found installed with an underground water tank with 90,000 litres capacity earning him at least 1.4m/- a day. The main customers are water suppliers using trucks to transport water to places always facing water shortage. Judging from the accuracy with which the illegal connections had been carried outMr. Makalla said; "A layman could never do this unless assisted by a water technician.

This is typical economic sabotage and totally unacceptable. Law and regulations must be reviewed to punish the perpetrators." The inspection tour led the minister to Ubungo area just a few metres from the ministry's headquarters where two other illegal water user suspects were arrested. At least 15,000 litres are used per day to produce an average of 3,000 blocks a day.

Artful connection is made a few metres up-stream to ensure constant supply of water to the pool created at bed of a seasonal riverfrom which water is drawn off by a petrol pump.

Another shocking revelation was observed at Kimara kwa Msuguri area on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam where a team of investigators from Dawaso dressed in long white jackets and posed as health officers intending to destroy mosquito breeding centres (the pond) to prevent dengue fever a few days before arrival of the deputy minister collected valid information from the site.

The investigators took video pictures to confirm the illegal connections and the ongoing cheating. At that particular area,a 1.2 inches pipe was illegally connected to a 24 inches supply line from Upper Ruvu to Kimara,and the drainage formed a pool from which water was siphonedto make blocks and sell water to truck suppliers.

One of the suspects, Rahim Hamis without knowing that video evidence had previously been taken lied to the deputy minister that the pool resulted from collection of rainwater.

The discharge of water was calculated to 75 litres per minute equivalent to 4,500 litres per hour or 108,000 litres within 24 hours. The supply could support five villages a day.

Asked to comment on the situation, the CEO of the Dar es Salaam Water and sewerage Corporation (Dawasco) Mr Jackson Midala said time and again the suspects were arrested but could easily pay the penalty which is only 100,000/-.

"Some of the suspects arrested today had already been served with letters to suspend operations but remained defiant. We have introduced a new system known as digital data logger to monitor water consumption and proper billing to the convenience of consumers. All illegal connections will be 'uprooted'," Mr.

Midala promised. According to official records from Dawasco,non-revenue water amounted to 53 per cent that includes illegal connections and leakages due to old infrastructures. Ubungo legislator, John Mnyika who accompanied the deputy minister said effective control of loss of water could reduce by 50 per cent of the shortage currently being experienced.

"It is not enough to embark on arrest of suspects but the most effective way to deal with the problem is to 'dig deep' to expose all operatives behind the scam as the uncalled-for practice has denied thousands of City residents to have access to water at affordable costs," Mnyika observed.

It was established that some of the racketeers paid insignificant amount to Dawasco 1,119/- for a cubic metre (1,000 litres) but generate between 12,000/- and 20,000/- selling a 25-litre container for 300/- or 500/-.

The Deputy Ministersaid such anomalies should be addressed to match determination by the government to ensure implementation of the Dar es Salaam Emergency Water Master Plan 653.9bn/- worth project seeking to increase the supply to 756 million litres a day before the end of 2015. Currently, the supply is 300 million litres a day, way below the demand of 450 million litres.

Other projects under intimate supervision of the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewage Authority (Dawasa) for the fulfillment of the government pledge include expansion of Upper Ruvu pump station to increase production from 82 million litres a day to 196 million litres per day.

The 18-month project, which is scheduled for completion in September 2015, is implemented by a contractor, VA-TECH WABAG. The work goes hand-in-hand with establishment of water pipes from Mlandizi to Dar es Salaam.

Another major water project underway is the expansion of the Lower Ruvu pump station in Bagamoyo which is implemented at a cost of US Dollar 36 million under Millennium Challenge Cooperation (MCC) initiative.

The project is currently 95 per cent done whereby four brand new and powerful electric pumps (90 million litres capacity each) per day have been installed. One of the pumps would remain on standby. At the moment, the station (Lower Ruvu) produces 182 million litres a day which will be increased to 270 million litres a day.

The Chairperson of Dawasa Board of Directors, Dr Eve-Hawa Sinare also spoke about ongoing drilling of 30 deep wells in two phases. Phase one would involve digging of 20 wells (12 in Kisarawe II and 8 Mpera) at the estimated cost of 91.95bn/- The wells will produce 260 million litres per day in total and phase two to produce 390 million litres a day.

This is in addition to more than 25 community water projects in Dar es Salaam meant to alleviate the shortage. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) stipulate that the world should halve the number of people without access to clean water and sanitation by the year 2015. For Tanzania to meet this target, it means ensuring improved access to safe water for more than 30 million people.

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