Post # 12: Tanzania’s Millennium Challenge

Two Tanzanian women hold up the Safe Water Now Inc. ceramic water filter that will help produce the much-needed fresh water for Tanzanians.
Two Tanzanian women hold up the Safe Water Now Inc. ceramic water filter that will help produce the much-needed fresh water for Tanzanians.

Throughout the 21st century, the Tanzanian government will be faced with the task of effectively providing its citizens with safe water resources. According to the BloombergBusiness, Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete acknowledges that,  “Providing clean water to the people of Tanzania close to their homesteads remains to be one of the biggest challenges facing our government.” Kikwete has placed expanding access to clean water supplies at the top of his agenda for the coming years.  “This is a sector we have resolved to give special attention this year and in the coming two years. We will take deliberate preferential action in budgetary resource allocations to benefit this sector,” Kikwete assured in a speech. Statistics indicate that nearly forty-three percent of Tanzanians in rural areas and nineteen percent in towns and cities do not have access to reliable, safe water sources.

Water Futures Tanzania reports that only fifty percent of Tanzanian households use any water treatment method at all.  Of those that are treating their water, boiling the water is the treatment most commonly used.  Both boiling water or using no water treatment at all are costly, but in different ways.  Untreated water leads to preventable illness and death, costing families in their ability to work or go to school, and in expensive doctor visits or even burials.  On the other hand, boiling water, although obviously better than no treatment at all, uses expensive fuel and time, increases fluoride in the water, and hurts the environment because of the wood and coal needed for boiling.

Safe Water Ceramics of East Africa (SWCEA) is a non-governmental organization that is trying to combat this probolem by producing ceramic water filters to purify the water. This organization is based in Arusha, Tanzania and distributes filters in Tanzania and other African countries.  Another positive effect of SWCEA’s work is that it employs local people in the production of the ceramic water filters.

However, the problem of clean water is still widespread. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s capital city, is in the middle of an economic boom, yet as the city grows so does its very uncertain water future. Population growth,  investment,  industry,  and increased consumption  are straining an already  compromised water resource; the already high demand  for  water  is  likely  to double  in  the  next  fifteen  years, causing  much of the city’s residents to face extreme water scarcity.

It is estimated that over fifty percent of the city’s population is already  unserved  by  the  water  company. Dar es Salaam’s water company  is  struggling  to  reduce the roughly sixty percent of water losses through leaks  and illegal connections. People try to compensate for shortfalls by drilling thousands of private or community boreholes into the city’s overused groundwater reserves. These initiatives are largely unregulated and many have been affected by salt water contamination and have had to be abandoned. Use  of  the  city’s  shallow  groundwater  is  also  problematic because of contamination by pollution from  waste and  sewage  disposal.

To improve the situation in the 21st century, the Tanzanian goverment started to lay the foundations for reforms by adopting the National Water Policy (NAWAPO) in 2002, the National Water Sector Development Strategy in 2006, and the Water Supply and Sanitation Act and Water Resources Management Act in 2009. the government has also set up a national regulatory authority.  Despite some progress, major change has not yet taken place, partly because the reforms are not implemented consistently at all levels.

One of the partners helping fund Tanzania’s Water Sector Development Program is the African Development Bank Group. ADBG began operations in Tanzania in 1971.  Tanzania is the largest beneficiary of  grant funding window by the ADBG’s African Development Fund (ADF). The ADF has invested over USD 2 billion on grant terms for more than ninety-eight programs in all sectors of the country.  In the water and sanitation sector, the ADBG has financed twelve operations and four studies for close to over USD 250 million.

The African Development Bank Group’s funding in the water and sanitation sector adheres to the Tanzania National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty (NSGRP, known by its Swahili acronym, MKUKUTA) and the Joint Assistance Strategy for Tanzania (JAST) agreed between the ADBG and development partners in 2006.



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