PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has called for communities to take an active role in protecting water sources from contamination as well as protect infrastructure built, so as to serve generations to come.
The president said for a long-time, people have been destroying the environment leading to dry up water sources, calling for environmentally friendly practices to ensure water sources are safe.
“It is our responsibility to take care of water sources such as lakes and rivers from, so that they can serve us for long. It is equally important to protect water infrastructure built as they are costly,” she said
Ms Samia said when Tanzania gained independence, access to water stood at 12,600 cubic meters per person but the capacity has since dropped to an average of 2,250 cubic meters of water supply per person currently.
The Head of State was speaking shortly after inaugurating water and sanitation project for Misungwi town under Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Programme (LVWATSAN) in Mwanza during her ongoing official tour in the region.
She said the project was implemented in partnership with the government, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the French Development Agency (AFD).
“We thank the development partners who assisted us in this project that also covers Magu District and Lamadi Town. The project will provide services to 64,208 people and this will make water supply 100 per cent for the residents of Misungwi,” she said
According to her, there are other ongoing projects in various districts of Mwanza region, where when completed, it will make access to water reach 85 per cent in line with CCM election manifesto and UN Sustainable Goal (SDG) number six.
President Samia also called on Tanzanians to embrace a culture of rainwater harvesting by building dams, ponds and wells.
“Tanzania is fortunate to get a large amount of rainfall, I believe if we can harvest rainwater, water problem will be reduced in the country,” he said.
She said it was also crucial for people and various institutions to pay water bills and warned Magu Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (MAUWASA) against the practice of slapping customers with inflated bills. She tasked them to collect proper bills for the government to get appropriate funds to repay the loan used to implement the project.
President Samia also urged the people of Misungwi to embrace the opportunities presented by the other flagship projects including the JPM Bridge popularly known as Kigongo-Busisi and Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which she said when completed they would steer economic growth and create more employment opportunities.
Prior, AFD Country Director Ms Stephanie Mouen said the inauguration of the project brings Misungwi inhabitants with access to reliable, sustainable and affordable source of water and sanitation services.
“Infrastructures inaugurated today are part of Water and Sanitation programme of 252bn/- financed by European donors, whereby AFD and EIB offered a concessional loan of 117bn/- and European Union offered 17bn/-,” she said
Ms Mouen said AFD support projects that improve the everyday lives of the population in developing countries and contribute to the transition towards a secure, just and sustainable world for all.
She said AFD have committed 2.6tri/- over the last ten years, to implement priority projects defined by the five-year development plan.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Eng Anthony Sanga said the project is worth 13.77bn/ - built at Lake Victoria in the Nyahiti area and can produce 4.5 million litres of water capable to serve 64,000 residents.
“We have built 57.14 kilometres of pipelines and this has increased water availability from 42 per cent to 83 per cent for Misungwi town,” he said.
President Samia also inspected the ongoing construction of the JPM Bridge popularly known as Kigongo-Busisi and its approach roads.
Chief Executive Officer of the Tanzania Roads Agency (TANROADS), Eng Patrick Mfugale said the construction of the project has reached 27 per cent. He said due to the rising water levels, the contractor has to increase the height of the bridge.
“Construction of the 3.2km bridge costs 716bn/-, it will enhance the movement of people and goods, curb marine accidents and promote trade in the region around the lake as well as neighbouring countries,” he said
He added, “All preparatory work to build this bridge is ready and the temporary bridge is ready and vehicles can pass to Busisi and back.”