Water sector still in a mess - World Bank

21Mar 2018
Henry Mwangonde
The Guardian
Water sector still in a mess - World Bank

ABOUT 40 per cent of all constructed water points in Tanzania are broken with 20 per cent of them becoming completely rundown within the first year of operation, especially in the country’s poorer rural areas, according to a newly-released World Bank report.

Water and Irrigation Minister Isack Kamwelwe

Launched in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the report titled ‘Reaching for the SDGS: The Untapped Potential of Tanzania’s Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector’ says the rate of failure increases steadily to reach up to 30 per cent by ten years of operation.

Tanzania has registered low progress in ensuring sufficient water supply to the rural areas over the past two decades, at just 48 per cent which is equivalent to only an average four per cent improvement per year since 1990.

The report contains brief highlights from the country’s Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Poverty Diagnostic (TWDP) analysis, particularly examining reasons for slow progress in developing the rural water sector.

“This is particularly important for Tanzania because about 90 per cent of the bottom 40 per cent (B40) of the entire population resides in rural areas,” it says.

It also provides insights into institutional and policy-based arrangements that are acting as bottlenecks to sectoral progress, as well as recommendations on how to address the hurdles.

Presenting the findings of the report, World Bank senior economist Geroge Joseph said water coverage across the nation currently stands at 60 per cent, with at least 21 million of the population still lacking access to safe water.

“Rural-based Tanzanians spend an average of 34 minutes per trip to collect water. Again on average, this is the same as eight hours a week,” Joseph stated.

On the issue of sanitation, he said at least 43 million of the national population are still reliant on unimproved sanitary materials.

In response to some of the report findings, Water and Irrigation Minister Isack Kamwelwe said it has raised several important issues that need to be addressed since improving the water sector is a key factor in achieving the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

According to the minister, among projects that the government is currently working on are the revival of several stalled water projects and ensuring that project planners visit sites instead of working from city offices , which he said has been identified as one of the biggest problems so far.

Recommendations from the report include promoting downward accountability, and a commitment by the central government to build incentive structures that favour sub-national government accountability.

It also calls for the facilitation of smooth financial flows between all levels of government for water sector development, whereby as of now financial flows between the national and local government are apparently slow and unreliable.

Tanzania failed to meet its Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water by 2015, with figures showing that since 1990 there has been almost no improvement in overall water supply coverage across the nation. The deficits in the rural areas are almost twice that of urban areas.


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