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Let's invest in water projects from reliable sources, MPs advise

Let's invest in water projects from reliable sources, MPs advise

THE government must invest heavily in water projects from reliable sources rather than wasting money in projects whose yields do not last long, Members of Parliament (MPs) have advised.

Contributing to the Ministry of Water's budget presented on Thursday in Parliament by Minister Jumaa Aweso, the legislators said Tanzania is endowed with water bodies, including lakes and rivers that can serve as reliable sources of water to benefit the public.

Professor Shukrani Manya (Presidential appointee) said if the government judiciously invests in water projects in the available water bodies it can cover at least half of the country with reliable water.

"If we invest in water projects by drawing water from lakes (Tanganyika, Nyasa, and Victoria) we may avail the service by covering at least half of the country's total area, reaching as many villages as possible. Other areas may be served by other small water sources such as dams and drilled water wells," he said.

The former mineral minister also asked the government to truly treat Kidunda and Farkwa dams' projects as strategic given the fact that the idea for implementing the projects was conceived by the government several years back when the populations of Dar es Salaam and Dodoma were still small.

According to Minister Aweso, the ministry, in the next financial year, plans to start constructing Kidunda Water Reservoir in Morogoro to address water shortage in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions, while Farkwa dam is envisaged to address water woes in Dodoma City.

The plan is also underway by the government to bring water to the capital city from Lake Victoria through Singida region. Another plan on the table to address water shortage in Dar es Salaam City will involve implementing Rufiji-Dar es Salaam Water Project.

Mr Jummanne Zedi (CCM-Bukene) hailed President Samia Suluhu Hassan for dishing out funds for water projects in his constituency.

However, he cautioned that since Tabora region had insufficient underground water, the lasting solution should involve bringing water to the area from Lake Victoria.

The legislator from Tabora region expressed optimism, saying since water network from Lake Victoria had reached Tabora and Nzega districts, it would be simple for the network to be extended to Bukene, benefiting around 20 villages on the way.  

Mr Katani Katani (CCM-Tandahimba) emotionally cried foul play with regard to the planned implementation of Makonde Water Project to benefit residents in Mtwara region, especially those in Mtwara Mikindani Municipal Council.

"Makonde Water Project, for the past several financial years, has been in budget books with no implementation.  The project was first said to be in the list of 28 towns that would benefit from the funding of the Exim Bank from India, but now we are told the project will be implemented through domestic funding," he said.

He noted that changing the financing source of the project casts doubt on its implementation. According to the MP, he felt Lindi and Mtwara regions were being sidelined when it comes to water projects implementation.

 "We congratulate President Samia for bringing reforms in water sector since she ascended to power. The 28 towns sustainable water project which takes on board Nanyumbu should have its signing ceremony held before the end of this budget meeting,” Mr Yahya Muhata (CCM – Nanyumbu) suggested.

Mr Zuberi Kuchauka (CCM-Liwale) supported Mr Katani's argument, saying the slow pace in projects implementation in the southern regions was a chronic problem.

The MP mentioned other examples of the stalled projects in the southern regions as including the Liquefied Natural Gas (LGN) and fertilizer industry plans.

The MP, who hails from Lindi, said: "If the government managed to take water all the way from Lake Victoria to Tabora and now plans are underway to take it to as far as Dodoma, why don't we do the same by taking water from Ruvuma region to Mtwara or from Rufiji River to Lindi, instead of focusing on dams and drilled wells."

Mr Kirumbe Ng'enda (CCM-Kigoma Urban) asked the government to come up with a special arrangement that will enable low income earners to connect water to their houses. He also raised concern on failure by some government institutions to pay water bills, placing heavy burden on water authorities.

The MP said it was inconceivable for some areas in Kigoma region to face acute shortage of water while Lake Tanganyika was just nearby.

Mr Oscar Kikoyo (CCM-Muleba) said: "We don't comprehend why we don't have clean and safe water in the constituency despite being close to   Lake Victoria. In fact there are Islets within Lake Victoria and yet they are facing chronic water shortage."

Almost all MPs whose constituencies are geographically located close to lakes called upon the government to shift focus by investing in water projects by drawing water from the water bodies.

Some MPs also called upon the government to turn to pre-paid water metres to reduce complaints arising from fake billing.

Other MPs who hailed President Samia for timely dishing out of money for water projects include Mr John Chiwelesa (CCM-Biharamulo) and Mr Hussein Amar (CCM-Nyang'wale)

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Author: RODGERS LUHWAGO in Dodoma                                                                                       

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