Water access: Mbarawa faults Ewura reports

21Mar 2019
Polycarp Machira
The Guardian
Water access: Mbarawa faults Ewura reports

MINSTER for Water and Irrigation Prof Makame Mbarawa yesterday lashed out at the Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (EWURA) for its positive annual performance reports, saying they do not reflect reality on the ground.

MINSTER for Water and Irrigation Prof Makame Mbarawa

Speaking at the launch of the regulator’s 2017/2019 performance report, the minister did not mince words, saying the reports do not mean anything when people on the ground still lack water.

He said it is quite unrealistic that EWURA continue issuing annual reports showing that availability and supply of water has increased while many people in the country still cannot access clean water.

"The performance measurement we are about to launch does not mean anything to me since it does not portray the real situation," he declared.

He said that he would be glad to hear that the number of people reached with water is on the increase since that is one of way of measuring his performance as a minister.

EWURA reports indicate that the situation has improved, “yet nothing has changed among poor Tanzania who expect improved provision of water,” the minister stated.

Prof Mbarawa who was the chief guest at the launch of EWURA's Water Utilities Performance Review Reports for the financial year 2017/2018, openly told the meeting that the national water utility authority was not doing enough to change the situation.

While the minister who was repeatedly castigating said that in the first place, had it not been for the permanent secretary and other top officials who persuaded him to attend, he would have delegated the task to someone else.

He said EWURA as a regulatory body is supposed to conduct control duties as well as help put the right environment for growth/increase water generation.

The EWURA should empower regional and district water authorities but it is not doing anything in that line but just keeps on measuring their performances, he told the gathering.

He said that EWURA like other regulatory bodies should set aside funds for an academic sponsorship programme for workers “as well as contributing to the Water Fund or something of that sort for development of water authorities.”

In brief remarks on the water utility’s performance for the year under review, EWURA Acting Director General Nzinyangwa Mchany said that over the past three years water generation, installed capacity and water demand increased by 24 percent, 14 percent and four percent respectively.

"Despite available capacity and increase in water generation, still the water quantity did not meet the required demand," he said.

Regional water supply and sewage authorities have improved in water quality compliance, he said, noting that district water supply and sewage authorities also performed well.

Water generation increased from 31.8 million cubic litres in 2015/16 to 33.8 million cubic litres in 2016/17, he pointed out, to which the minister reiterated that access to water is still a big problem even with increased water generation.

He cited Dar es Salaam and Musoma cases where water generation is higher than the demand but many people still do not have access to water.

"In Dar es Salaam generation stands at 562 million cubic litres and the demand is 542 million cubic litres, yet so many residents have no water," he charged.

“In Musoma, the quantity generated is 36 cubic litres and the demand is 32 cubic million litres but some residents do not have water at all.”

He urged EWURA to organize training seminars for leaders of regional and district water authorities to empower them on improved management of their organizations.

Permanent Secretary Prof Kitila Mkumbo challenged the participants to deliberate on why prices of water per unit are higher in the rural areas than in urban areas.