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Why Dar es Salaam city well drilling is potential environmental hazard

Why Dar es Salaam city well drilling is potential environmental hazard

Yet its availability for sufficient use in domestic and agricultural purposes is one big problem and experts say this is mainly due to poor water management. In Dar es Salaam for example, the most populated country’s urban centre, water supply reaches less than half of the consumers and even then, not on a regular basis.

Tabata and Segerea which are among high density areas, receive water twice a week and for some few hours only. The same is the case with Mikocheni, Kijitonyama and Mwenge. The city centre is the only part that enjoys full time supply, except perhaps when there is a burst on the main pipe.

Unfortunately, while distribution of water maintains a downward trend, there is a ‘population boom’, manifested in traffic jams and major house projects in the city centre and the outskirts. Many residents don’t get water the way they should. The scenario depicts a tainted image of the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) which is responsible for water distribution in the city.

They are fast to collect debts and issues bills even in cases where no water was supplied. Having grappled with water problems for a long time, some city residents have decided to call a spade and are now drilling wells to stave off the huge deficit. Water is life and this is indisputable.

People will do whatever it takes to get it, because it is their survival, in other words, it is their right. However, the right to get water has led to haphazard drilling of wells in the city, while the authorities dare not stop them. Experts warn that land sinking may occur in the long run in case too many wells are dug. But they also advise that people need not drill too many wells.

One well may serve the purpose and houses only need to be connected to one source. In the wake of DAWASCO (or is it DAWASA)’s failure to distribute enough water, private enterprises have silently creeped in and are doing a good business. Well drilling and water selling is a tax-free booming business, at least for the time being. Who is to blame?

A resident of Segerea suburb was quoted as saying he has drilled two wells and 11 houses are enjoying water supply from which he collects about 300,000/- per month. How many wells could DAWASCO or DAWASA drill and profit from the business? But even as drilling of wells continues unabated, experts warn of land degradation and say unless there is a regulator to minimize the number of wells within a location, land sinking is imminent in the long run.

Another puzzle that raises more questions is whether the mushrooming high rise buildings in the city centre and Kariakoo area are capable of withstanding the well-drilling ‘tremor’.

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Author: EDITOR

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