Expedite Water Policy review, Bunge demands

DODOMA: THE National Assembly has directed the government to fast track the review of the National Water Policy 2002, to allow further development of the water sector.

The MPs said that the process has been taking too long, despite repeated advice given by the lawmakers.

Tabling a report on activities undertaken by the Parliamentary Committee on Water and Environment in 2023 here on Friday, Chairman Jackson Kiswaga said delay to review the policy has been hindering the development of the sector.

“The National Assembly has been repeatedly advising the government regarding the policy, delay to review it has been a set back to the development of the clean water sector including participation of the private sector,” he said. He said the august House resolved that the government should take strong and immediate actions to ensure the review of the policy is completed.

Mr Kiswaga further said that water availability in many urban and rural areas for various uses including domestic, livestock, agriculture and industry, is still limited. He explained that the situation could lead to various effects, including conflicts between water users, declining production and disease outbreaks.

Mr Kiswaga further said that the MPs have also resolved that the government should prepare national guideline for rainwater harvesting in order to have sufficient reserve of the precious liquid for various uses.

Mr Kiswaga said there has been huge loss of rainwater, while the demand of water is high during dry season thus the storage of the water is crucial to meet the demand during such period.

He noted that lawmakers also resolved that the process of establishing the National Water Grid should continue to be worked on quickly to enable the nation to have a water distribution network that will help to improve water availability in all parts of the country.

Mr Kiswaga said citizens should be fully involved in planning, construction and handover of water projects to enable them to participate effectively in the protection and sustainability of the schemes.

The committee also suggested that priority in the implementation of various water projects should be given to local contractors in order to build their capacity.

He said other recommendations include strengthening and empowering the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Unit under the Ministry of Water to identify areas with water challenges with the aim of addressing them.

The MPs also directed the ministry to consider setting a budget for execution of various projects pledged by national leaders and continue to control water prices appropriately in all parts of the country to enable all citizens to have access to clean and safe water at a more affordable price.

On destruction of water sources due to human activities, the chairman said that there has been a significant increase of human activities in water sources, thus causing pollution to the sources, destruction of water infrastructure and high cost in execution of water projects.

He said that in order to address the situation, the National Assembly resolved that the government should continue to promote the conservation of water sources by protecting all water sources that have not been affected by human activities.

The lawmaker added that it should also identify all public areas facing water shortages and find independent and reliable sources in order to make sure that they get enough water at all times and the government should prepare special communication services that will enable citizens to report damage of water infrastructure.

According to the committee report water availability in the country has reached 88 per cent in urban areas and 77 per cent in rural areas.

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