A Tanzania government plan to supply 65 per cent of rural dwellers and 90 per cent of residents in urban areas with safe and clean water is likely to materialise, as a Japanese company is ready to chip in with simple, cost-effective and affordable water treatment technology.
The government drew up a nationwide water sector development programme five years ago in its quest to find a durable solution to the long-standing challenge of providing clean and safe water to over 44 million Tanzanians.
Essentially, the programme aimed at increasing people's access to safe and clean drinking water for at least 90 per cent of urban dwellers and 65 per cent of those in rural areas.
Although some progress has been registered since the programme was commissioned, access to safe and clean water remains a big problem in many parts of Tanzania, and the situation is worse in rural settings, threatening the lives and health of millions.
A Japanese company, Poly-Glu Social Business Co. Ltd, has come up with new and affordable water treatment technology which could help Tanzanians cheaply access clean and safe water.
“I am going to Tanzania tomorrow (Tuesday) for the official launch of a pilot facility, just to demonstrate how this technology works,” said optimistic Dr Katetoshi Oda, chairman and chief executive officer of the company, which is trying to spread affordable water treatment technology to many poor countries where problems of safe and clean have reached crisis levels.
He told a team of journalists from developing countries who are on a two-week programme organised by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that the first water treatment plant would be installed in Bukoba.
With support from the Japanese government through JICA, the company has already successfully introduced the technology in some countries, including India, Somalia and Bangladesh.
In places districts and villages across Tanzania where the water treatment plants would be installed, local people would be given the opportunity to administer and operate the facilities, thus creating jobs for the people and increasing their income to meet other basic needs, he noted.
“Also, we would like the local people to develop new types of equipment from the original one. We want to empower the locals to be more innovative and creative, and design similar equipment instead of just imposing the technology,” said Oda.
Despite some failures in the implementation of the water sector development programme, the government is still committed to achieving universal access to safe and water as specified in the country’s Development Vision 2025 and Millennium Development Goal 7.
“We need to remain optimistic but at the same time be realistic with our ambitions,” The Guardian quoted the Minister of Water Prof Jumanne Maghembe as saying recently at the opening of the seventh joint water sector review meeting.