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Lake Victoria basin board strengthens protection of water sour

Lake Victoria basin board strengthens protection of water sour

ON her one-day official visit in Mwanza last year during the commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Bugando Zonal hospital, President Samia Suluhu Hassan acted tough against people who destroy water sources in the country.

She said that the current water shortage in the country is due to some people who graze their cattle along the river basin, where on average, the president said one cow consumes 40 liters of water per day, the situation that causes reduction of water flow.

The Head of State instructed the regional and district commissioners in their areas to ensure that all water sources are protected and conserved to enable the community have access to water and at the same time to protect the country’s environment.

After the president had issued her order, the Lake Victoria Basin Water Board ( ), which among its function include protecting water sources and controlling pollution in the lake basin, outlined some strategies to implement the president’s directives on the precious liquid.

Manager-Department of Catchment and Water Users Association Coordination from LVBW, Engineer Jane Mrosso says as the legal responsibility of the board is managing water resources, saying the board’s management continues with its responsibilities in ensuring that all water resources are protected and maintained in accordance with the law.

She says her department has continued with its exercise of monitoring the condition of water sources to ensure that all water sources are not destroyed by people and other human and economic activities in those sources.

She says in 2018, the department officially began the process of identifying 157 water sources within the Lake Victoria basin, where it found some of the water sources in a critical situation, while others were well maintained and some of were completely destroyed.

She says the factors identified in the damage of those water sources include agricultural activities along water sources, arbitrary grazing of livestock and mining activities.

She says after identifying the damaged water sources, in collaboration with experts and the community, the Board launched a special campaign to set boundaries of the beacons in the reserve area of 60 meters from the water source as directed by the law.

She says Ihelele Water Plant situated in Misungwi district in Mwanza region is one of the highest priority water sources for conservation, which receives water from Lake Victoria for various social uses and is managed by Kahama Shinyanga Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (KASHWASA) for providing clean and safe water in Kahama and Shinyanga towns.

She says the Ihelele water project currently serves the towns of Nzega, Tabora and Igunga, which currently provides water services to 1.5 million people and also serves the community living in 57 villages through the main pipeline (12 kilometers from each side of the pipeline).

She clarified that at the Ihelele water project, which was invaded by some people for setting up human activities such as agriculture, livestock, charcoal logging, mining and processing, the board in collaboration with KASHAWASA, Misungwi District Commissioner and Misungwi District Council Director successfully placed more than 1,100 concrete beacons in a 60 meter and 55- kilometer-long reservoir.

“We put beacons in this source because the people who were farming around the Ihelele water source claimed that the boundaries were not set,” she says, adding that the Board has also planted trees within the reserve area of 60 meters with the aim of protecting and preserving the water source.

She says the tree planting exercise which aimed at protecting and conserving water sources has also been carried out in Nyang’wale, Geita and Maswa area of Simiyu region.

She also says that after the discovery of the pollution challenge due to mining and processing activities in Nyang’wale area and in creating an enabling environment for small-scale miners, the Lake Victoria Basin Board has already made the design of sediment retention pond for the construction of two dams that will be used by small-scale miners to extract gold so as to prevent contamination of water sources.

In the case of livestock keepers who are destroying water sources, she says there is a plan to build cattle tracks for the livestock, where the architecture for the project in Maswa, Misungwi and Nyang’wale area has been completed.

In addition to the efforts made by her office in protecting and conserving water sources, she admits that there are other water sources that have been invaded and destroyed, including some dams constructed by the government at a high cost for the community. She praised President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her recent directives to regional and district commissioners to actively be involved in managing and maintaining water sources in their areas of work.

“We have received with great joy the president’s directives, she has honored us, our belief is that as we have been cooperating with regional and district leaders, the work of water sources management, especially water conservation, will be strengthened,” she says.

She further says that her office in collaboration with Maswa Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (MAUWASA), the District Commissioner and Maswa District Council conducted a New Sola dam (Zanzui) conservation exercise by setting up beacons at the dam reservoir in Maswa district.

She says the move aimed at ensuring that the dam which is the main source of water for Maswa town as well as 11 villages is preserved and protected.

She says the three villages of Zanzui, Mwabayanda and Mashegeshi adjacent to the dam were affected by the setting of beacons, where a total of 157.72 acres of land was occupied by 55 people who were compensated a total of 176m/- for their plots of land which were taken for the conservation of the Zanzui dam.

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Author: NASHON KENNEDY in Mwanza

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