Dodoma — The government will table a bill in Parliament in September this year (2018) that will specifically seek to fast-tract the execution of water projects across the country.
Once approved by Parliament and signed by the President into law, the bill will establish the Rural Water Agency (Ruwa), the legal department head in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Mr Simon Nkanyemka said here yesterday.
"We have prepared some proposals to the legal framework governing the supply of water and sanitation which when approved, will result into the creation of Rural Water Agency. It will also increase the amount/level of fines applied to those destroying the water infrastructure," he said.
The bill also proposes that areas where water infrastructure moves be regarded as reserve areas.
He was speaking at a working session that brought together top leaders from the Ministry of State in the President's Office (Regional Administration and Local Government Authorities) and their Water and Irrigation counterparts.
The meeting was called to deliberate on President John Magufuli's recent call on the ministries to boost their delivery of water services to Tanzanians.
Speaking last month during a function to swear-in Mr Alphayo Kidata as Tanzania's ambassador to Canada and Cuba and Mr Msalika Makungu as Tabora Regional Administrative Secretary (RAS), President John Magufuli directed all water experts in municipalities to report directly to the Permanent Secretary (PS) for the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
"Currently, everyone everywhere is complaining of water, Members of Pparliament (MPs) are complaining, people are complaining, the government has issued funds for water but there is no water supply," President Magufuli said in May.
He noted that the problem was that most of the water projects were being supervised by council engineers who cannot be held accountable by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, hence the need for change.
The government believes that the uneven execution of water projects across various local authorities in the country could also be addressed by establishing the Ruwa.
It anticipates that the Ruwa will revolutionalise water sector in the same way as Tanzania Roads Agency (Tanroads) and the Rural Electrification Agency (Rea) have been successful in connecting country with good roads and lighting up the villages respectively.
Once approved, the proposed legal changes will repeal the Tanzania water supply and sanitation act 2009 and the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority Act, 2001.
According to the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Mr Isaac Kamwelwe, during the 2016/17 budget, it was only 56 councils that managed to spend at least 50 per cent of the water development funds that they received.
Similarly, in 2017/18, a total of 131 spent less than 50 per cent of the water development funds that were availed to them.