The President of Zanzibar and Chairman of the Revolutionary Council, H.E. Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi officiated the opening of the maiden Zanzibar Water Scientific Conference on Wednesday September 14 2022 at the Golden Tulip Airport Hotel with a commitment to deliver on the election campaign promises on the provision of clean and safe drinking water to the Islands residents.
H.E Mwinyi also called on the Ministry of Water, Energy and Minerals to deliver on the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme launched in March 2022 and provide him a report on the progress made after a year. “I instruct the leadership of the Ministry of Water, Energy and Minerals to submit to me a status report on the implementation of the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme by March 11, 2023, which will be one full year since I launched it. The report should show the achievements, the existing challenges as well as the use of funds provided by the Government and other development partners. My mission is to ensure that we implement this the programme well,” said H.E Mwinyi.
The Zanzibar Water Conference is a flagship scientific event for the Ministry of Water, Energy and Minerals (MoWEM) and was convened in collaboration with Global Water Partnership Tanzania, SADC Groundwater Monitoring Institute, University of Dar es Salaam and IHE-Delft with the objective to bring together researchers, policy makers, private sector, civil society organizations, regional and international organizations and development partners to share and show-case new concepts, ideas and cutting-edge technological and scientific discoveries in the water and related sectors.
The conference was held alongside an exhibition event that provided an opportunity for individuals and institutions to showcase their products and services. The main theme of the two-day 2022 edition of the Zanzibar Water Conference was “Seeing the Unseen: Sustainable Management of Groundwater Resources in a Changing Climate”.
In his opening statement, the Executive Director of Global Water Partnership Tanzania Dr. Victor Kongo noted that Zanzibar Water Conference is part of implementation of the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme.
“One of the key activities in the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme is facilitating regional and international convening with expected outcome of rolling out publicity on the water sector in Zanzibar. In this regard, the scientific Zanzibar Water Conference is part of implementing the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme. It is also noted that the water sector requires continued technological innovations and scientific discoveries and hence the Zanzibar Water Conference will be the foundational platform for sharing such insights especially for Zanzibar and other islands that depend on groundwater as the main source of water”.
In her keynote speech, Zanzibar Water Authority Director General, Dr Salha Kassim, said there was need address the issue of access to safe water as well as sustainability of water resources in Zanzibar.
“Water supply in Zanzibar is characterized by several individual schemes with many deficiencies which lead to insufficient water supply to the population, the coverage is average estimated to be 60%. Poor management of water resources among the water users and climate change has continued to negatively impact the water sector in Zanzibar. The sustainability of water resources in Zanzibar is under threat by human induced activities, population growth and economical development.”
The Minister of Water Honourable Hassan Shaibu Kaduara said he was hopeful of an improved water sector through the various project plans that the Zanzibar Government has put in place.
Said Honourable Kaduara; “There are various ongoing projects that will help accelerate provision of water supply by increasing production, distribution, and access to clean and safe water in Zanzibar. A total of 112 wells will be established, 25 large water tanks will be built along with the laying of water pipes in various areas of Unguja and Pemba Islands through financing of the Exim Bank of India and IMF COVID relief funds which will help us achieve the goal of the Development Vision of Zanzibar 2050.”
The $665 million Zanzibar Water Investment Programme supports the implementation of the Zanzibar Development vision 2050 towards achieving country’s the Blue Economy Policy. The Programme is geared toward promoting investment in the sector, strengthening governance, enhancing capacity of various stakeholders, mobilizing resources, and ultimately, ensuring the optimal water supply to all the areas and people of Zanzibar.
Overall, the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme, falls under the African Union’s Continental Africa Water Investments (AIP), which supports country-specific efforts to enable or adapt the operating environment to one which is more favourable to improving the investment outlook for water projects in Africa.