Tanzania prioritizes conservation and protection of water sources; aims to achieve 85 percent access in rural areas by 2025

The Government of Tanzania says it is implementing various water projects to increase access to water which by June 2022, water supply in villages stood at 72.1 percent and 86 percent in urban areas.

Officially opening the 2022 Annual General Meeting for Basin Water Boards, Tanzania’s Vice President Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango said “President Honorable Samia Suluhu Hassan has decided to prioritize financing major water projects. We are all witnesses of how the government has continually taken measures to strengthen the water sector by protecting and conserving water sources through the river basin boards. The government has repaired and constructed new infrastructure for water supply as well as strengthening institutional frameworks for water governance which include the formation of RUWASA. Through this meeting, I call upon the Ministry of Water to hasten the implementation of remaining projects so that we can achieve the 2025 goal of an estimate of 85 percent in rural areas and 95 percent in urban areas.”

The 2022 Annual General Meeting for Basin Water Boards took place in Mbeya on 17th November under the theme “Sustainable Water Sources Conservation and Protection for Social and Economic Prosperity.”

To support the government in its quest to increase water access, the just ended Tanzania Basin Water Boards annual general meeting resolved to among others review the integrated water resources management and development plans for Basins as per stipulated timeframe so they are compatible and reflect the implementation of existing challenges for the water sector.

The Basins also agreed that each basin should prioritize conservation and protection of water sources as per the agreed catchment conservation plans as well as ensure maximum engagement and cooperation with other sectoral ministries in the conservation efforts.

Dr. Philip Isdor Mpango said it was important for the various ministries that rely on water for their operations to ensure that they are well coordinated.

“There is a collision and conflict of laws; the mining law allows for mineral extraction even in water sources and water source reserves. Sometimes land demarcation is done in areas of water sources or water source reserves. The 60-meter law does not take into consideration the nature of water sources therefore can be challenging for the small water sources. These are among the things that are important. These laws can be aligned in a short time span,” said Dr. Mpango.

The Vice President also urged the participants to find sustainable means of ensuring that the country is able to deal with effects of climate change.

“Climate change and destruction of water resources have resulted to droughts and decline in water resources for human use and development activities. There are weather forecasts which show that areas which used to receive a lot of rainfall will start to receive less rainfall and droughty areas will face further droughts. Due to this situation, I expect this meeting to discuss and come up with suitable ways to face the effects of climate change to rescue our nation,” implored Dr. Mpango.

The meeting delegates have since taken up the opportunity presented by the VP to prepare a strategy and a work plan for its implementation. The delegates will also be informing all stakeholders including politicians about the activities of basin water boards to avoid conflicts and enable them to participate effectively in the activities of management, conservation and development of Water Resources.

The Global Water Partnership Tanzania was part of the meeting having supported the Ministry of Water in organizing the AGM.

GWP Tanzania Executive Director, Dr. Victor Kongo described the meeting as a success as it facilitated a holistic view of the performance of BWBs, enabled dialogue in the promotion of accountability and mutual trust between stakeholders, and helped enhance dialogue and partnership with other water-led Ministries.

“The AGM was an opportunity for collaboration for GWP Tanzania and we also got to learn from the research findings, technical papers that were presented to rationalize the water resources management and development work and to support right actions and decision making. This was an opportunity for us to also contribute towards solutions to the challenges that the sector continues to face,” said Dr. Kongo.

There are 9 water basins in Tanzania, 7 of which are shared with other countries.