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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Agency to build more water wells

16th March 2012
Drilling and Dam Construction Agency, (DDCA) has embarked on construction of water wells to alleviate water problems in the country. (File photo)

According to 2010 statistics, from Ministry of Water and Irrigation, only 58.7 percent of rural communities and 84 percent of urban dwellers use clean and safe water.

As the population increases coupled with increased industrial and irrigation activities, water demands also increases swiftly, something which calls for immediate action…

To address the situation, Drilling and Dam Construction Agency, has embarked on construction of water wells to supplement government efforts of making sure that every Tanzanian country accesses clean an safe water.

As the nation heads towards Water week which commences on March 16 to March 22, many Tanzanians are faced with acute shortage of water, as many depend on water sourced from short and temporary wells which is usually not clean and safe.

In many places, be it urban or rural areas, water is a critical problem because many women waste their valuable time, spending the whole day queuing at the water wells, some abandoning their income generating activities at the expense of water shortage.

The acute shortage of water could be solved if different communities in collaboration with the government put in place comprehensive strategies to construct deep and short wells and supply to residents.

DDCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Jonathan Mgaiwa chronicles achievements and efforts undertaken to supplement government’s plans to solve the problem of acute shortage of water.

According to Mgaiwa, since its establishment in 1997, a total of 6,614 have been constructed out of which 5,639 wells managed to supply water, while 975 did not.

Mgaiwa would like to see to it that DDCA takes the leading role the construction of water wells and dams that have value for money and deliver better services for the people.

He said DDCA’s main customers for the service are small scale farmers, ordinary users for domestic purposes and livestock keepers.

He also mentioned other customers of the agency as government and its institutions, manufacturing industries, large scale farmers, private sector, and different religious communities.

He said the DDCA has a big role in alleviating poverty and that same efforts will continue to rescue people from life hardship.

Mgaiwa said the objective of DDCA is to improve accountability and efficiency in delivering the services, reduce the cost, and contribute to the economic growth of the country especially on better water supply services.

Mgaiwa said the main role of DDCA is to improve water supply services and make sure that its cost is affordable so that many can access it easily.

He said another role is to dig long and short water wells, construct dams to increase water availability for the communities all over the country.

“Therefore, DDCA delivers the services for both urban and rural communities without discriminating poor people who usually have scarce resources. DDCA has been caring and will continue to care all people in the urban and in the rural areas where there are no financial support to improve the water supply services in their respective communities.

“DDCA has proved that it has the capacity to build new sources of water and rehabilitate the old ones at a low cost which is affordable by majority” he says.

He said that an average of 450 water wells are constructed every year by DDCA while 50 to 100 wells were constructed by the government yearly before the introduction of DDCA.

“This achievement proves that currently DDCA has the capacity to deliver the service to many customers and is an institution which is reliable on water supply services” Mgaiwa said.

The Agency was established in 1997. It is the government Agency operating under Ministry of Water and Irrigation.

The objectives are to oversee and enhance availability of water sources to improve

accessibility of clean and safe water for different purposes including domestic, agriculture, livestock, fish projects, industries to alleviate poverty.

Apart from being commercial oriented, this Agency has the obligation to delivery the services to the general public at a low cost.

“We are involved in research, examining soil samples to establish whether a particular area is useful for water wells and dams. We are also conducting soil samples to determine arrangements of rock strata beneath the earth’s crust and establish if that place is useful for construction of deep water wells.

Mgaiwa said that they have been installing pumping water machines to the water wells and dams to determine quality of the water in the wells.

About preliminary research, the Chief Executive Officer said that they have been examining the geology of the area and its history to determine whether there are signs of availability of water.

Commenting on detailed research, he said DDCA has been examining the possibility of availability of water by looking at the rock strata and soil samples.

He said that data analysis and preparation of the report are underway on the depth of the water well and the machines to be used for digging such wells.

Question: What are the advantages of conducting the research before digging the water wells and dams?

According to the official the cost of digging water wells depends on many factors such as diameter of the well and the pipeline to be used in the construction process, type of the rock and the distance from the location of the DDCA machines.

Also in the list are the costs of equipments, fuel cost, and the situation of proposed area for the well construction such as presence of road, requires construction of the new path for laying down the pipes and other machines.

He said that the construction process of the well also depends on number of the equipments that would be ferried to the area, and time to be taken before the well is dug.

He said other costs include hiring of the equipments, vehicles and other machines.

On dams constructions, Mgaiwa said that the costs depends on the feasibility study which involves examining of soil samples, the environment and preparation of the report among others.

The Ministry of water and Irrigation recently announced commemoration of National water week and admitted that the sector faced several challenges including acute shortage of water to many rural and urban communities.

The Ministry’s Deputy Minister Gerson Lwenge said until end of next year, the problem of water in many places in Dar es Salaam will be a history after completion of a big project of installing large pipes at lower Ruvu, running from Bagamoyo to Dar es Salaam .

However, he said water is very important because it is also used for agriculture development through irrigation, something which ensures the nation of food security.

"Food security depends on availability of water supply in different areas including rain water, water wells, and that from catchment areas" he says.

By depending on rain water, many farmers get big loss because even if they cultivate, their crops dry because of shortage of water.

The government through DDCA, can construct many water wells and dams to keep rain water and other underground sourced water to be used during dry season.

The theme for this water week is “water for food security.”

October 2010, President Jakaya Kikwete, said that the problem of shortage of water in the city of Dar es Salaam would be history following comprehensive plans to increase water sources and make water available and accessible to all city residents.

He promised this during at a political campaign rally held October 2010 at one of the meeting Kiwalani, Kitunda and Mwembe Yanga in the city.

He said upper Ruvu had the capacity of supplying 60,000 litres per day while lower Ruvu could supply 90,000 litres. He said this amount is not sufficient to meet the demands of all residents in the city.

He said unlike the past, the city’s water demand is 360,000 litres per day, a problem partly contributed by the rapid growing population. He said with the support from the American people, the government would continue improving lower Ruvu to be able to supply more water.

The official said while the government continues with its efforts and plans to improve water accessibility and supply , the new research conducted by Norway discovered another source of water at Kimbiji.

“When the people of Norway told me that Kimbiji had water, I asked them that is it not fuel? They answered no, it was water !. When they showed me the map, I agreed, there are plenty and could be half of the size of the Lake Victoria ” he said.

He said the new source would produce 260,000 litres which, if combined with other reliable sources of water, is quite enough to meet water demands in the city.

However, he said experts from Dawasa, and Dawasco, told him that the project could be completed in three years time.

“When they briefed me on the project, that it could take three years, I told them that they should make sure that it is completed a bit earlier.

I directed that one contractor should be assigned to deal with water wells only, another one for installation of tanks, and supplying of large pipes should be assigned to another contractor so that the project could be completed earlier” said Kikwete

He said the past pipelines network which is dilapidated would be removed and replaced with the new ones under support from the government of China.

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