THE government yesterday set a new target to improve water access for rural and urban people, committing 100 per cent coverage by 2020.
Researches indicates that only one in three people had access to piped water despite government efforts to improve water supplies with most of the population still relying on unsafe water that brings a risk of disease outbreaks.
Eng. Gerson Lwenge, the Minister for Water and Irrigation delivering his opening remarks at the 10th joint water sector review meeting in Dar es Salaam said the government would spend 6trn/- (USD3.3bn) in a span of five years from 2016 to address the shortages.
According to Lwenge already the development partners had committed USD1.4bn (aprrox. 3trn/-) to help the government improve water access in urban and rural centres under Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP-II).
“For so many years we have kept promising we want to people to see this promise materializes,” he said. “We will be committed on this target, especially with support from development partners, the World Bank, African Development Bank, among others.”
The minister who is a civil engineer explained that the shortage of clean and safe water had subsequently resulted to little improved sanitary facilities across the country.
Tanzania is among developed countries whose about 80 per cent of its nationals lack proper access of sewerage systems.
The government’s plan is now to improve water access and raise sanitary from the current 16 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.
Eng Lwenge said the country was at greater risks of water security, demanding immediate actions to be taken to protect water sources and effectively use of the available water sources to benefit arid and scarce regions across the country.
“We will use water from Lake Victoria to benefit those in Tabora and other regions with water shortage. The long term plan is also to use water from the sea … but we still have enough water from Ruvu River and Kimbiji aquifers for Dar es Salaam residents.”
The government which was implementing Sector Wide Approach Programme (SWAP) for water sector spent an annual average USD 951m to implement the programme.
The government figures indicates a total of USD 1.36 billion, which corresponds to around 83 per cent of the revised budget of USD 1.63 billion, had been disbursed over the eight years of implementation between July 1, 2007 and October 2015.
In improving water supply and sanitation services, water sector has recorded notable increase in number of water points of which by June 2015, a total of 87,993 water points were installed benefiting 21,497,183 people in rural areas; and a total of 584,473 domestic water connections and 5,836 kiosks/public standpipes were installed in urban areas and were benefitting a total of 7,923,740 people. On sewerage services, by June 2015 the number of connections stood at 43,295 serving 526,895 people in urban areas.
Bella Bird, the WB Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia expressed her institutions commitments towards complementing the government efforts to address the daunting challenge of water access in rural and urban towns.
Eng. Mbogo Futakamba, the Permanent Secretary, in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation called on stakeholders to extend their support to help the government implement the programme as planned.
In November 2012, Tanzania announced plans on increasing access to clean and safe water in rural areas to 90 per cent and to attain universal access in urban areas by 2025 and as part of a long-term programme aimed at achieving the Tanzania Development Vision (2025).
The then Minister of Water Prof Jumanne Maghembe said “We need to remain optimistic but at the same time be realistic with our ambitions …” adding “…all water basin institutions shall be strengthened to full operation capacity and have their integrated water resources management and development plans approved by basin stakeholders come 2015…” he pledged.
Since October 2010 additional fiduciary safeguards in the form of a modified disbursement procedures had to be applied after a Special Audit and Annual Financial Audits by the Controller and Auditor General identified what had been referred to as ‘profound weaknesses’ in the financial management of the programme. In simpler language, the auditor unveiled misuse of funds and new security measures had to be adopted.
The target to increase access to clean water in rural areas was 57.8 per cent in 2010 to 65 per cent of the population also in the regional capitals, from 84 per cent in 2010 to 95 per cent by 2015.
The urban centres like Dar es Salaam had already seen a substantial share of investment raise from 68 per cent in 2010 to 85 per cent for its districts’ small towns as well as national projects are expected to increase from 53 per cent in 2010 to 57 per cent by 2025.