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Climate change effects on water could cost 2 pct of GDP

16th February 2012
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Despite increased infrastructure investment in the water industry, the sector is still facing a big risk attributed to climate change posing threats to investors, populations and the environment.

A research carried out by Moshi Urban Water supply and Sanitation Authority (Muwsa) commercial manager Joseph Swai, indicates that so far one of the outcomes of climate change in the water industry is floods.

He says the impacts of floods in the industry in Tanzania are associated with disruption of safe water supplies through damage of the infrastructure.

Others include overburdening waste water system leading to contamination of water supplies and health risks such as increased incidence of diseases, he says.

According to him, if the government and other stakeholders will not take serious measures on the matter, water flow is projected to become more seasonal and scarcer throughout the country.

“The effects of climate change have affected the Tanzania water industry in terms of quantity, quality and accessibility of freshwater resources for human and development demand,” he says.

Swai cites that in another research carried out by Orindi and Murray in 2005, it has been revealed that between two and three rivers in Tanzania have been experiencing reduced water levels as a result of decreasing rainfall.

According to him, the future of climate change could lead to large economic costs with indication that it might be equivalent to as much as 1 to 2 percent of the GDP per year by 2030.

The combined effects of current and future climate change are also large enough to prevent Tanzania from achieving growth, development and poverty reduction targets simply for the reason that many sectors are going to be affected by reduced water supplies.

The sectors include health, energy, infrastructure, agriculture and ecosystem services, he said.

On the other hand the impact of climate change on water accessibility has potential to increased conflicts among users because right now many of those happening at the Pangani Basin arise between small scale users and the large ones.

In order to reduce this impediment especially for the industry to meet its obligation of supplying adequate and quality water services, there is need to ensure equitable distribution and accessibility of the services among the users, he suggests.

Besides, he says, there is need to apply commercial principles in order to sustain water supply and sanitation services.

Also there is need to conserve water resources and the environment for long term as well as provide the basics for sustaining water services through application of commercial principles, he says.

“Water accessibility in Tanzania requires the adoption of supply chain management which emphasizes the application of all principles,” he says.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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