Revisiting National Development Vision 2025 priority on water

IN rural Tanzania, ownership of huge herds of livestock is an indication of wealth and over the years, the aspirations of many people in these areas have been to have as many herds as possible, hence, the livestock population has been growing.

While this should be celebrated as a source of income, the development is also taking its toll on the country’s River Basins, especially as the human population is also steadily growing. Amidst it all, inadequate extension ser- vices for forestry and agriculture compound the problem.

As a result, Tanzania just like in any other part of the world has been experiencing continuous degradation of watersheds due to unsustainable farming practices, cutting of trees, and mining activities, which are pursued to meet recurrent human needs.

Consequently, soil erosion and sedimentation of rivers and reservoirs coupled with low dry season water flow, and water pollution from the heavy metals and nutrients (for instance phosphates and nitrates) are widely spread across all water basins in Tanzania.

This has brought to the fore challenges around integrated water resources management and improving access to water supply and sanitation services. The problem spills over to other sectors because as it is well known, water resources provide the key impetus for the social and economic development of Tanzania. It is important for agriculture, electricity production, industrial processes, and domestic consumption.

Therefore, effective management of water resourc- es is crucial for the overall development of Tanzania. To address this among others, Tanzania’s current National Development Vision 2025 recognises water as a priority sector for enhancing the quality of life of its citizens. The 2002 National Water Policy was translated into the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) that began to implement development initiatives in 2006.

WSDP aims at strengthening sector institutions for integrated water resources management and improving access to water supply and sanitation services. In the heart of global efforts to promote sustainable water use and management, World Water Day stands as a pivotal annual event, drawing attention to the critical importance of water for life, ecosystems, and human development. Celebrated on March 22nd, this day serves as a platform for raising awareness, inspiring action, and showcasing the intertwined relationship between water and various aspects of sustainability.

Each year, World Water Day is anchored around a theme that highlights specific challenges and opportunities within the water sector, encouraging collaborative efforts and innovative solutions worldwide. The theme of this year’s World Water Day resonates deeply with Tanzania’s strategic priorities in the water sector. It emphasises Water for Peace, a concept that is at the core of the country’s water sector reforms and initiatives.

The Government, through its various agencies and with the sup- port of international partners, has been proactively working towards achieving water security, ensuring equitable access to water, and promoting sus- tainable water resource management.

This commitment is reflected in the country’s comprehensive water sector development programmes, which aim of addressing the critical water issues facing the nation, from rural water supply and sanitation challenges to the management of water resources in a changing climate. Over the last two decades, much effort in water resource management has been directed toward establishing and strengthening institutional sys- tems responsible for linking and coordinating users from the upper and lower streams. Specifically, Tanzania has employed different forms of multi-stakeholder forums in its management of water re- sources.

This includes the Water Resources Management Act (2009) provision of the over- arching framework for water resources management and provides for the establishment and strengthening of national and basin-level water resource institutions such as the National Water Board (NWB), Basin Water Boards (BWBs) and Catchment Water Committees (CWCs). Community institutions, namely Water Users Associations (WUA), have en- abled joint planning and shar- ing of experiences.

However, in response to the demand for having wider stakeholder participation of stakeholders be- yond the NWBs, BWBs and CWCs due to the wide range of stakeholders in the water resources management ecosystem, the government gazetted regulation in GN 56 of 31st January 2020 to allow for wider stakeholder participation through a National Multi- Sectoral Forum (NMSF) at the national level, Basin Multi- Sectoral Forum (BMSF) at the basin level and Catchment Multi-Sectoral Forum (CMSF) for all the nine basins (Ministry of Water, 2020).

Integrated Water Re- sources Management will, therefore, benefit from a collaborative and stakeholder- driven approach, involving the integration of several agencies, a coordinated use of water, and cooperation between users.

Since its launch in 2017, the NMSF has successfully enabled dialogue, coordination and cooperation among stakeholders in the public, private and civil society for water resources management focusing on a wide array of issues. However, despite this early success, there are structural, systemic, operational and financial sustainability issues which have hindered the full realisation of the inherent potential of the NMSF.

The aim of establishing the Forum was to create a level playing field to discuss issues faced by the water sector and water users, however, some stakeholders were of the view that the governance structure, before Global Water Leadership’s support, did not allow for meaningful cross and multi sectoral participation.

The original structure did not provide clear pathways for all stakeholders to equally contribute, have their voices heard and eventually bring about change into the Water Sector at large through the NMSF advising the National Water Board.

Through GWL support, the National Multistakeholder Forum (NMSF) revitalised itself from a mostly dormant body to one prepped for action. Working groups had al- ways been planned, and GWL successfully advocated that the broad categories of the working groups should align with the key barriers they had joint- ly identified. These working groups are permanent. However, smaller GWL taskforces within each working group were formed to work on the Response Strategy.

The GWL Task Force leadership, consist of a chairperson, vice chairperson, champion, and secretary, played a crucial role in ensuring the success of the GWL’s taskforce activities.

They were responsible for leading task force meetings and overseeing the progress of each of the stages of development of the Response Strategies to barriers, taking corrective actions when necessary. They also supervised and guided progress reporting before working group meetings and events.

Global Water Partnership Tanzania through the Global Water Leadership Program facilitated a consultation process that identified the most pressing bottlenecks to climate- smart water management and subsequently convened cross sectoral stakeholder working groups around the selected bottlenecks. These working groups developed climate- resilient and water-secure response strategies for each prioritised bottleneck.

The response strategies include both action plans and finance plans, including access to climate fi- nance and nature-based solutions, with the intent that mandated government institutions promote the activation of these response strategies upon their validation. Through the implementation of the GWL programme, NMSF harvested and provided important information to the government to enable informed decision-making.

The programme developed clear messages that will lead to government prioritising actions in favour of water security as a comprehensive package by in- vesting holistically. Response Strategy Document and Root- Cause Analysis reports to barriers listed below are available on the website: -Identified barrier #1.

Inadequate funds to implement resilient water resources. Identified barrier #2 Inefficient irrigation water uses and practices a case of Ruvu Sub Basin. Identified barrier #3 Overlapping legal and regulatory mandates impacting inter Sectoral coordination.

Highlighted STRATEGIES in the response strategy that would help address the challenges include:-

1st barrier: Capacity building to Di- rectorate of Water Resources and Basin Water Boards in resources mobilisation, program design, execution, and overall planning; Enhancing adaptation to impacts of Climate Change through innovative financing mechanisms and ef- ficient resource allocation for sustainable management.

2nd barrier: Strengthening the extension services; Incentivising the adoption of water-efficient irrigation technologies; Rehabilitation of inefficient irrigation schemes and piloting modern irriga- tion practices and technology- driven methods; and building capacity among farmers for optimised water usage and climate resilience.

3rd barrier: Policy harmon- isation and systems strengthening; Fostering dialogue and inter-sectoral collaboration; Integrate water resource management efforts through policy harmonisation and joint project implementation.

How does the government intend to see the Response Strategies implemented?

The National Multi-Sectoral Forum (NMSF) in Tanzania serves as a crucial framework for coordinating collaborative endeavours aimed at implementing the response plan that addresses obstacles to investing in water resources in a climate-resilient manner.

With the Ministry of Water lead- ing both the NMSF and other agencies within the larger frameworks of the Tanzania Water Investment Programme (TanWIP) and the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP), the NMSF assumes a key position in this regard.

Key functions of the NMSF in implementation Coordination and collaboration:

The NMSF acts as a central coordinating body, fostering collaboration among diverse stakeholders including government agencies, development partners, private sector entities, and civil society.

This collaboration ensures a holistic and integrated approach to implementing the response strategy. Monitoring and evaluation: The NMSF takes a lead role in establishing robust monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. By doing so, it ensures that the implementation progress aligns with set targets and adapts to evolving challenges and opportunities. Advocacy and resource mobilisation: Through active engagement, the NMSF advocates for the resource needs outlined in the response strategy.

It serves as a conduit for resource mobilisation, engaging with both domestic and international stakeholders to secure the necessary financial and technical support. Capacity building: Recognising the importance of institutional capacity, the NMSF facilitates capacity building initiatives to empower stakeholders at various levels, fostering a conducive environment for the successful execution of the response strategy.

Alignment with Tanzania Water Investment Programme (TanWIP) The Response Strategy is aligned with the Tanzania Water Investment Programme (TanWIP) that support its overarching goal to reduce the investment gap within the water sector. The strategy’s activities are closely aligned with key focus areas of TanWIP, underscoring their synergistic relationship.

This alignment ensures that the objectives achieved through the Response Strategy not only contribute to the success of TanWIP, but also can be effectively monitored through the existing AIP Scorecard process. The strategy activities, plays a pivotal role in establishing the necessary conditions for private investment by addressing barriers to climate resilient water management.

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