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Sunday, 20 February 2011 13:29

Water Wells Project Takes Off

By Pudenciana Temba

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania, February 19, 2011 (Tanzania Daily News) - If one goes to any village in Tanzania and Africa in general and ask the communities what is their priority basic need if they were to be given support, they would certainly say it is water.


This is further proved by famous sayings of "water is life" and "precious liquid" which stresses the importance of water to human beings. It is further amplified by several campaigns such as "water for all" which seeks to ensure this basic need was accessed by all human beings.


It is an open secret that access to safe water is essential for addressing poverty and health problems. However it remains a fact that in Tanzania and most of other African countries, the poor, most of who live in rural areas, have limited access to clean water for domestic use and crop production and adequate sanitation.


There is a great variation of water availability between different parts of the country. The variation is explained by differences in topography, rainfall pattern and climate. Statistics show that one third of Tanzania receives less than 800 mm of rainfall and is thus arid or semi-arid.


Only one-third of the rest of the country has precipitation of above 1,000 mm. Also the long dry season, normally extending from June to October, has an effect on low river flows and drying of water reservoirs.


About 7 per cent of Tanzania land surface is covered by lakes which border the country apart from other inland lakes. These include lake Victoria (second largest fresh water lake in the world), Lake Tanganyika (second deepest lake in the world), and lake Nyasa. Inland lakes includes Lakes Rukwa, Eyasi and Manyara.


There are also big rivers flowing to the lakes. Ground water is also available for both urban and rural settlement areas. Ground water is a major source of water for many areas in Tanzania and actually the most viable alternative supplement in the central and northern parts of the country, particularly the drier regions of Dodoma, Singida, Shinyanga, Tabora, Mwanza, Mara, Arusha, Coast and Southern Kilimanjaro.


However according to studies, major challenges facing groundwater in Tanzania include lack of knowledge on the available groundwater resources in the country, inadequate monitoring network, encroachment of human settlements into recharge areas and well fields. Others are pollution from human, industrial and mining wastes.


Studies indicates further that only 12 per cent of the available ground water in the country is actually utilized. Yet economic benefits are achievable indirectly through improved health and time saved from the drudgery of carrying water overlong distances.


Existing data on the incidence of water-borne, water-related and water-washed diseases indicate that these are mostly prevalent where people use contaminated water or have little water for daily use.


Such diseases account for over half of the diseases affecting the population and more than 80 per cent of Tanzania's population living in rural areas. The largest use of water is domestic water supply.


Due to increased economic activities and delivery of social activities of which all utilize water in one way or another, supply of water has become a burden which the government cannot meet alone without the participation of other players such as the private sector, development partners and well wishers.


The government's policy is to involve the beneficiaries in all water projects both in urban and rural water supply. However, the water sector contribution to GDP has remained at 0.2 per cent for some years, a proportion which is insignificant considering the importance of the sector to the economy.


It is out of this that the government is encouraging private investment in the water sector. Heeding the government's call and his inner sense of helping the communities access this basic need, a Dar es Salaam prominent business man, Mr Mustapha Sabodo volunteered to construct 700 wells in various places in the country to support communities.


"I have been supporting communities in many ways in building schools, churches and mosques and this time I am committed to help them access water by digging both deep and shallow wells," he said.


Mr Sabodo who was born in Lindi Region says he feel obliged to help alleviate sufferings among the communities whenever he could. He says it really disturbs him seeing or hearing of poor communities particularly women and children enduring scorching sun and trekking long kilometres in search for water.


He said the ultimate goal was to see quality water available to a bigger population. The project will be implemented in six phases, and already phase one has started in Lindi Region, while surveys and studies are continuing in other parts.


According to Mr Sabodo, digging of wells has began in Mingoyo, Nambika, Mtamwa, and Kilwa Kivinje areas, in Lindi and would be extended to other areas in the region and beyond. Phase two of the project would involve Dodoma and Singida regions while phase three will cover Kilosa, Kimamba and Dumila, in Morogoro Region.


Fourth in the list will be Malampaka and Maswa in Shinyanga Region while Mwanza region will be reached in the fifth phase and Tarime and some other areas in Mara Region will be next. The management of water also involves the participation of all stakeholders in order to achieve sustainable access, efficiency, equitable use and adequate protection and conservation of water.


It is out of this realization that Mr Sabodo said that they will form village water committees in all areas that the project cover with the view to instill the sense of ownership among the beneficiaries.


" Village water committees will be formed in all areas that the project will cover and they will be tasked with the management of the projects to ensure best practices that will guarantee their sustainability," he said.


The project to cost about 2bn/- will be supervised by a special committee comprising five members, but in close collaboration with technicians to be provided by the government. "This is not a government project but purely my contribution to the community. However the government has pledged support by providing us with expert whenever we needed them," said Mr Sabodo adding;


"That is why when I published my 'Declaration on Water Wells' in the media, the Minister for Water Prof Mark Mwandosya came personally to acknowledge my contribution." And as Mr Sabodo has shown the way, it is up to other businessmen and women, the private sector and other well wishers to come out and reach areas that will not be covered by him.


And this will enable the country attain millennium development goals on health and poverty alleviation. It will enable communities and women in particular spend their valuable time in income generation and other developmental activities instead of searching for the precious liquid. At the end, it will contribute to poverty alleviation and improved health and general welfare of the people. (END/2011)



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