Water user associations in Karatu district, Arusha region, are pushing for sustainable sources including deep wells, as the current ones are being overwhelmed by an increase in the number of people and climate change impacts.
Briefing ward councillors, who recently visited some of the village water projects in Mbulumbulu and Rhotia wards, Slahhamo village water user association (WUA) chairman Baltazar Sarwatt said the situation was appalling, calling for concerted effort to address the water problem in the district.
“The volume of water in the sources we have is going down and there are no efforts to explore new sources of water in the village and the district in general. This is a challenge, which needs concerted effort in the district,” he said, adding: “All this has been caused by prolonged drought due to climate change.”
According to him, during the dry season the situation worsens as most of water sources in the village dry up.
The village water project serves over 1,000 people and the association collects over 1.3m/- a month to sustain water supply in the village.
“But the collection varies depending on dry and wet seasons,” Sarwatt said, adding that there were about 37 water distribution points.
Kilima Moja village executive officer Tarmo Faustin said environmental destruction near water sources was a critical problem.
“The current water sources in the village cannot survive in 10 years to come. As village leaders, this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. We are planning to come up with a five-year plan and looking into new water sources,” he said.
Since 2009, the Kilima Moja water user association has deposited 13.4m/- in a bank account.
“Our association is performing well in all areas from financial management to service delivery. Water in this area is a big problem and through this association everything is going on smoothly despite the fact that the volume of water is going down,” said village water user association’s committee secretary Christina Joseph.
Daa ward councillor Benedict Modaha said: “Public awareness is needed for the wise-use of water resource in their areas.”
He noted that it was high time Karatu residents embarked on new sources of water including rainwater harvesting technology.
A Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV) official, Agnes Sigareti, said there was a need for village governments to ensure water user associations operated undependably for sustainable water projects.
She said the associations were introduced in line with the 2002 national water policy and needed to operate independently for the best outputs in their respective villages.
“Environmental conservation along water sources should be our priority for sustainable water projects,” said Sigareti, who is water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) adviser.
Karatu district is in dire need of clean and safe water due to the growing population and unprecedented climatic change impacts. As a result, people are forced to walk long distances to look for water.
Hakikazi Catalyst in collaboration with SNV are training ward councillors on water laws, policies and programmes and the water and environmental project maintenance organisation is helping villagers to form water user associations in their areas.