The Chinese farmer is alleged to have installed machines with a capacity to pump one million litres of water per hour.
Halima Faraji, an official the board, said yesterday that patrols carried out on Friday last week found out the presence of a machine which pumps water from the source to vegetable farms, noting that the board has confiscated the machines and ordered the farmer to pay 3m/- as a penalty.
The farmer had no board permit to use water from Ruvu River, and the board has directed him to stop pumping water from Ruvu River.
“We have seized his machines and directed him to pay the 3m/- penalty by Monday next week. He will no longer continue with irrigation farming at Kidogozelo village,” she said.
The farmer had in the past five years applied for a board permit to conduct irrigation farming along the river, but he never returned for the document, and since that time the farmer has been illegally pumping river water, she stated.
The installed machines were pumping water for eight hours a day, thus contributing to persistent decrease of water levels at the river which is vital to supplying water to millions of people in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.
She said further that there was some contamination of water at the river because the machines were fixed near the source, and as diesel is used, it may cause health risks to water users once a certain amount leaks into the river and survives water treatment processes.
Environmental damage was also arising from his activities, the officer intoned.
Hhau Sarwat, a community development officer with the board, said that the water level at the river Ruvu has started going up following patrols, which are also used to educate villagers on protecting water sources and restraining those who want to graze cattle near the river.
Officiating at the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Bugando Zonal Referral Hospital on Thursday, President Samia Suluhu Hassan declared war on all people who trample on water sources and causing extensive diminution of flow to rivers, inhibiting adequate water treatment for major urban centres.
She directed regional and district commissioners to conduct a resource use manhunt to clear obstacles to proper flow of water to rivers and ensure the protection of sources of springs and streams countrywide.
Water demand for domestic use was more important than pumping water to irrigate farms or using wetlands for easy feeding of large herds of cattle, the president underlined. Agriculture and pastoral activities come second, so those who are destroying water sources for such use must be disabled from that disruption, she emphasised.
Increased presence of livestock herds near water sources was among major factors explaining the water flow crisis into Ruvu River that feeds the city of Dar es Salaam as well as into Ruaha River, all besieged by vast numbers of cattle especially from the Lake Zone, she affirmed.