Tales of how city dwellers cope with water rationing

Sunday November 14 2021
Water pic
By Hellen Nachilongo

Dar es Salaam. When Willis Mhango secured a deal of washing 20 vehicles of a city company, he counted it as an improvement which could make him see a return of his car washing business.

To his surprise, inadequate supply of water which led to rationing made the prospects of a lucrative return on investment a daydream.

“The issue of water has become a thorny matter. There’re many days that pass by without water. As a result, a lot of clients come and leave without getting the service,” he said.

The car washing operator represents a number of businesses and households that are battling with water woes following the recently announced water rationing that has hit Dar es Salaam due to diminished water levels at source areas feeding the city.

Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa) recently announced that there will be a shortage for customers served by the Upper Ruvu and Wami Rivers, due to lower water levels caused by drought.

Some businesses which are linked to the water supply are suffering and others have started adjusting the prices to compensate the losses.


Speaking to The Citizen, a resident of Buguruni who sells ice cubes for the preservation of fish said availability of water has become a challenge, therefore, she decided to hike the price.

“The interval of water supply via taps has totally changed.

This has derailed by business and I have to compensate by adjusting prices,” said Ms Zainabu Hamad who supplies ice blocks to a number of fish sellers and traders who sell mineral drinking water.

Other residents are now forced to minimize the use of water to cope with the severe shortages.

Ms Mary Mosha, a resident of Ubungo Kibangu said she changed the schedule of washing dishes in the past two weeks due to acute shortage of water.

“There is no more luxury of washing dishes after every meal,” she said.

“Such shortage of water is a rare and inconvenient experience since Dawasa connected us with water. In most circumstances, we always had water running. But now it is unfortunate that supply of water is once a week,” she said.

Other residents have taken similar measures to ensure that they are not heavily affected by the shortage.

A resident of Mbezi Beach who identified herself as Agnes, said she bought a 3,000-litre tank to preserve water.

“As you can see, I have an infant and I believe you understand what it means when one has a baby,” said the mother of three.

Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) main weather forecasting station manager Samwel Mbuya said the current water shortage was very much associated with climate change that has caused dry spells and increase of temperatures in most parts of the country.

Earlier, TMA director general Agnes Kijazi said prolonged spells of drought were expected to start this November to next January, citing Mbeya, Mara, Songea, Rukwa, Iringa, Katavi, Dodoma and Songwe as among the regions that are likely to experience below-normal rains.

Dr Kijazi further said that other regions to be affected are Ruvuma, Lindi, Mtwara and the Southern part of Morogoro.

Considering that water scarcity impacts where businesses are located, Dr Kijazi said with below-normal rains, the private sector would be adversely affected due to a likely increase in operational costs. The agency also projects that water borne diseases may occur in most regions due to the shortage of clean and safe water.