Tanzania: Proposed Water Grid Set to Boost Water Supply

THE government is designing a comprehensive plan to establish a national water grid system that would provide a fair availability of the precious liquid in both rural and urban areas.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Prof. Kitila Mkumbo, revealed here recently that the plan will strategically benefit regions such as Singida and Dodoma that have little or limited freshwater sources.

Details from the government indicate that Tanzania has over 126 billion cubic meters of water, while the demand is less than 40 billion cubic meters.

The permanent secretary said the figures are not reflective with some parts of the country experiencing serious water woes in comparison with the rest.

In Dodoma and Singida regions, he said: "the two regions have a combined water generating capacity of 700 million cubic meters, even though the supply is not sufficient."

The national water development plan and the Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) election manifesto target to improve water supply in cities, towns and villages by 95 per cent, 90 per cent and 85 per cent in 2020 respectively.

"The ministry has resolved to establish a water grid similar to that of electricity," Prof Mkumbo said.

He detailed that water production is improving daily, thanks to the government initiative to implement small and large scale water projects. Since 2016, at least 2,642 projects have so far been commissioned.

More specifically, a total of 1,544 projects have been completed, 276 projects are in various stages of implementation, and 663 projects are in the pipeline.

Prof Mkumbo said a total of 159 projects have also been completed "unfortunately, they couldn't produce water.

This includes 153 projects implemented in rural communities and six others in urban areas.

Deputy Minister for Water, Jumaa Aweso was bitter that executive directors had been slowing the government efforts to fulfill its election promise by awarding contracts to dishonest contractors.

"Sometimes most executives have been blindfolded by corruption," he said.

He cited a water project that had been allocated over 1.4bn/-, yet there was no water, and the experts were quick to blame witchcraft which they said caused the problem.

"You go through another project, and you find out that the infrastructure that includes water tanks have also been constructed at an area not well surveyed to determine the volume of water available... the question remains, are we serious as managers," he queried.

The Deputy Minister was quick, however, to rush at the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (RUWASA) to clean-up its regional-level administrators who have been corrupting its image.

He directed the authorities to make good use of graduates from the Water Institute to help in the supervision and management of water projects, especially at grass-root level.

Rashid Abdallah, speaking on behalf of graduates from the water institute, said their challenges include water leakages, but the institute was able to develop a system that will cut leakages by 20 per cent.

"We want to be part of the solution, and we want to offer our service," he said.

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