Mega projects to end water woes

Minister for Water and Irrigation, Engineer Gerson Lwenge

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THE government has announced a number of projects, including use of solar pumps, to put an end to decade-long water woes, gripping some parts of the country.

In his maiden budget speech for the 2017/18 financial year, the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Engineer Gerson Lwenge, told the National Assembly yesterday that the strategy will improve water access by 75 and 95 per cent in rural and urban areas respectively, come 2020.

Minister Lwenge told parliamentarians that the government will embark on renewable energy projects, as time for people to rely on ponds, streams and wells has expired owing to climate change, while hand pumps are not an effective option.

The first pilot project will involve 280 villages in 12 Mainland regions of Dodoma, Morogoro, Geita, Kagera, Mara, Shinyanga, Mtwara, Rukwa, Singida, Tabora, Arusha and Manyara.

Eng Lwenge said the government will collaborate with the World Bank’s Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) to implement the project at a cost of 4.2m US dollars. “However, the government is in discussion with the US-based Ohio University to implement the project in 125 villages,” Mr Lwenge said.

This is the first time for Tanzania to implement such a project that will reduce operational costs, especially for rural-based water projects. The giant project to improve water supply in Dar es Salaam is now complete, according to the Minister.

It involved expansion work at Upper and Lower Ruvu water treatment plants in Mlandizi and Bagamoyo respectively.

“It has increased water supply from 92m litres to 196m litres per day at the Upper Ruvu and from 182m litres to 270m litres at Lower Ruvu. In addition, the DAWASA implemented Kimbiji and Mpera deep boreholes, that are expected to pump in an additional 260m litres a day, will be completed next month,” Eng Lwenge hinted.

Another large project, that the government is targeting, is the expansion of the Lake Victoria to Tabora water project that will benefit over 100 villages. In the long-run, the Minister said, the government was going to renovate and construct nine large dams including the long awaited Kidunda Dam in Morogoro Region, to improve water supply.

Eng Lwenge appealed to the lawmakers to endorse the 672.2bn/- budget, with a decrease of over 31.2 per cent from 979.5bn/- approved by the same body, last year. Officials in the Ministry explained that the decline is part of the government’s plan to cut down donor overdependence.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture, Livestock and Water, however, urged the government to evaluate conditions issued by the Chinese Development Bank – Exim and respond immediately to secure some 216m US dollars for the construction of a multi-purpose Kidunda Dam.

According to the committee, the Chinese government has issued August 17, this year, as a deadline for the government to make a decision whether or not to acquire the ‘badly’ needed monies. As of March, this year, over 22.9m Tanzanians in rural areas had access to clean and safe water.

This is despite the fact that the ministry received 19 per cent or 80.4bn/- of 421.5bn/- that was approved to fund rural water supply projects.

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