Monday, September 25, 2017

University to tackle water woes


By By Zephania Ubwani @ubwanizg3

In the wake of poor supplies from boreholes due to unfavourable weather, the Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) will soon embark on a massive water supply project.

The pan African university, located at Tengeru near Arusha, is seeking Sh300 million to drill water from a recently identified source where surveys indicated has ample water to meet its growing demand.

“We are looking for funds from the government and other supporters so that we can have a new water source that will cater for all our needs,” the vice chancellor, Prof Karoli Njau, told The Citizen last week.

Currently, the six-year-old institution is depending on in campus boreholes for its daily water supplies which, according to the don, could not suffice the growing needs but made worse by intermittent dry spells.

Under the project, water would be pumped from the identified potential source, probably an underground channel from the slopes of Mount Meru, and a huge tank constructed atop a hill near the campus to ease the supply network.

“We need money for this. We don’t have adequate supply of water. We are currently looking for funds,” Prof Njau said on the sidelines of a conference on business and management in emerging markets organized jointly by NM-AIST and the Mzumbe University.

According to him, although the project was still on the drawing board, it already had the blessing of the Pangani Water Basin Authority (PWBA), the water users’ association and the Arumeru District authorities.

Due to the declining water supplies from the boreholes,the institution has been forced to ration water for its daily needs. Each day, the campus attracts about 500 people, being the employees and visitors.

Prof Njau added that the university has also to cope with unreliable supply of electricity and power interruptions and that they have approached the Tanzania Electric Supply Company (Tanesco) over the issue.

The university is spending at least Sh20 million a month for power supply from Tanesco and about Sh25 million for its standby generators which the don regretted was eating into the lean budget of the institution.

He said power interruptions have led to breakdowns of the institution’s research equipment and that they have requested for a separate line of electricity from Tanesco sub stations in Arusha.