Despite the existing water resources estimation in the country to hit 126 billion cubic meters per year, the availability of clean and safe water services has continued to be a challenge in many areas of the country, with some facing water rationing and rural areas relying on inherently unsafe sources.
According to the website of the Ministry of Water, the water resource on the ground is estimated to be 105 billion cubic meters, while that underground is 21 billion cubic meters and the water needs for various uses in the country by April, 2022 were projected to be 47 billion cubic meters per year, equal to 37.37 percent of the water in the country—translating that over 62 percent of the water resources in the country have not been used.
Water rationing in some areas of the country was triggered by the decrease in water depth of Ruvu River; not forgetting Dar es Salaam which has been over-reliant on such single source, has given a lesson to the Government and other stakeholders in the water sector to look at alternative sources.
Water continues to be an intrinsic resource and a basic need for human life, and whenever runs short, it slows down the economy, puts health of the community at a stake, which is key to engineer the nation’s desired building.
It is said that half of the healthcare facilities in this country do not have safe water, derailing efficiency of nurses in attending expectant mothers during delivery.
The latest figures from the Population and Housing Census show that Tanzania has about 61.74 million population (an increase of 34 percent) from 44 million in 2012 while the number of healthcare facilities have increased to 10,067 in 2022 from 6,663 in 2012.
The increase in population and healthcare facilities signals overburdening of the Government on providing quality healthcare services to that increment in this hectic climate when the country is deficient and uncertain of the access to water in some areas considering that the resource is vital in providing better health services.
In spite of what is going on regarding the certainty of access to water, the Government is wide awake, as it continues to take bold steps to guarantee the availability and sufficiency of water for all Tanzanians when visiting healthcare facilities.
To confirm this, the Minister for water in the country, Juma Aweso met with the management of the Muhimbili National Hospital and explained the underway strategies that the Government undertake to end water problem at the hospital and the country at large.
During his visit, he said that he has directed the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water, Anthony Sanga to ensure that funds are available for the purchase of a large tank that will have the capacity to store one million liters to ensure reliable water service.
Minister Aweso said that Dawasa is planning to provide an 18,000 liter tank and another 10,000 liter tank with the latter is yet to come from Arusha, which in total will make the hospital to have a water reserve of 28,000 liters to navigate through the rising water crisis.
“We must have an alternative source. We have come with our people from the Ruvu Basin Valley. Tomorrow (next day after his visit) people will start surveying.
Regarding the drilling issue, we have already got 25 modern drilling vehicles that our President Samia Suluhu Hassan will hand over to us soon and we will no longer wait for an official handover event to start drilling wells here in Muhimbili but instead we will use some of these vehicles,” explains Minister Aweso.
In addition, he instructed Dawasa to improve the water system that enters the hospital and the Wami/Ruvu Basin Board to conduct research and dig a well that will be a permanent solution for water access to the hospital.
In another step, giving information about the availability of water in the hospital, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Prof. Abel Makubi explained the importance of having water reserves in all healthcare facilities in the country to avoid any disruption to medical services for citizens.
Furthering these measures, the Government has already given permits to the well drilling authorities to start drilling wells in the regions of Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma and Pwani to address the problem.
The government also finalizes constructing the long-awaited Kidunda dam at Kigamboni, which upon its completion, will feed Dar es Salaam and Pwani residents.
“The government recognizes that this Kigamboni project is only to reduce the severity, but the most reliable solution to the water challenge in Dar es Salaam is the Kidunda Dam,” said President Samia Suluhu Hassan during her visit for the official launch of the Kidunda project, KIgamboni.
On different occasion, the country’s Prime Minister directed Ruvu Basin Board to restore 197 wells to life to cushion severity of the water woes.
Also, it is continuing with the inspection of water sources to see if they have sufficient reserves during this period of drought.
On the other hand, it has suspended 12 water user permits to cushion water consumption in an effort to halt drought caused by climate change and reserve water for future use.
The Government of Tanzania is not alone in this as the WaterAid Institute is determined to continue to ensure that every Tanzanian has access to clean water at all times during this tough times where, among other things, climate change has affected water sources.
“It is high time the government prioritizes climate change adaptation and mitigation plans so people can deal with the on-hand crisis. We call on the government and water sector stakeholders to invest in utilize groundwater and ensuring water quality in Dar Es Salaamand other cities experiencing water scarcity challenge. We can all agree that the costs to all of us of not doing so are way to high..
Climate change is here, and it is affecting all of us. Whether in Dar Es Salaam or any other region in Tanzania, the effects of climate change are now vivid. At WaterAid Tanzania, we will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Water to make sure that we support the scaling up of climate-resilient water solutions that will reach everyone everywhere with clean and safe water irrespective of changes in the quantity of rainfall,” says Anna Tenga Mzinga, Country Director, WaterAid Tanzania.
So much to be done to curb the alarming water woes particularly in healthcare facilities which if it is still let prevail today, will have profound impacts on future generation.