“It is high time that we engage the private sector in water production, distribution chain and customer care. Currently all the capital investment in the sector are done by the government,” he said, insisting on the need to change attitudes of the individuals and institutions so that they recognise and grab business opportunities in the sector.
Investing $ 1 in water and sanitation services could give a $ 5 return, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He was speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop to share experiences on urban water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). It was organised by WaterAid in collaboration with Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) and brought together various stakeholders.
The PS underscored the need to also change the attitude of urban water authorities across the country, to make them behave as like corporate business entities with financial capabilities to operate without support from central government.
“Their business is mandatory because everyone needs the precious liquid,” he noted.
Prof Mkumbo mentioned funding gap as the main challenge facing implementation of water projects as well as improvement of sanitation services. He said the government requires $ 3.3 billion to implement the Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP) whereby so far it has been able to raise half of the monies.
Under the WSDP II, the government targets among other things to reach 19,080,000 people with improved rural water supplies, 5,357,000 people with improved water in urban areas, additional 50 per cent of the population with improved sanitation and hygiene services. Increase the proportion of schools with improved WASH facilities as well as to increase the proportion of health facilities with improved sanitation and hygiene from 65 per cent to 80 per cent.
He however, promised water sector stakeholders to fast track and accelerates preparation of the country’s sanitation policy. He said the policy is likely to be ready by June next year.
Edward Ruhinda from Ardhi University said that provision of water and sanitation services in Dar es Salaam is a challenge since between 70 and 80 per cent of the settlements are unplanned. He said the city’s urban land is now growing at the rate of 6 per cent annually, accelerated by population growth.
“Almost 90 per cent of Dar es Salaam residents depend on pit-latrines and septic tanks. They also face a challenge of inadequate technical advices,” he noted.
According to Ruhinda, current water policy and regulations do not address sanitation issues, hence making it difficult to improve sanitation services in the country.
WaterAid country director, Ibrahim Kabole insisted on the need to bring on board the private sector in order to enhance water services. He said that waters sector is among the areas where one can invest and gets returns.
“We must ensure provision of safe and clean water to our people. To date, in Dar es Salaam, there are still people using water sourced from hand drilled water wells,” said Kabole.
He said WaterAid works to ensure water, hygiene and sanitation for everyone everywhere by 2030.”
Data availed from the Dar es Salaam regional office shows that the coverage of clean and safe water services in the city have reached 75 per cent while waste water network covers only 10 per cent of the population.
Temeke and Kigamboni districts are among the areas not covered with DAWASA water distribution network. There are a total of 332 water wells in Temeke District.