World Water Day: The power of partnership in ensuring water security in Tanzania

The 6th National Multi Sectoral Forum on water resources management and development

By Global Water Partnership Tanzania

Water is not just a resource but the lifeline of mankind where peace, social and economic development are realised. Recognizing this, the United Nations set 22 March as World Water Day to serve as a poignant reminder of the critical role freshwater plays in sustaining life and fostering development.

Inaugurated in 1993, World Water Day has continued to spotlight the urgent need to manage our most precious resource sustainably. This year’s theme, “Water for Peace,” aligns with Tanzania’s commitment to water security.

Since 1988, Tanzania, through the ministry of Water, has been com­memorating the Maji Week (Water Week) simultaneously with World Water Day along with a series of national events starting from 16 to 22 March. This year’s national Maji Week is themed, “Water Security for Peace and Harmony”.

Tanzania’s journey towards water security is a testament to its com­mitment and foresight in effective and sustainable management of water resources. Recognizing that, the effective management of water cannot rest solely on the shoul­ders of the government. Hence the Ministry of Water has embraced the Integrated Water Resources Management principles, effectively devolving management and govern­ance of water resources to basin and catchment level.

This strategic foresight was underpinned by significant legisla­tive and policy frameworks that laid the foundation for the establish­ment of critical water governance structures such as the Basin Water Boards, Water User Associations and Multi-Sectoral Forum (NMSF) on Water Resource Management and Development at the level of the national, basin and catchment.

The effective establishment and operationalisation of these water governance structures require part­nership with other stakeholders in the sector. In this regard, the min­istry has continued to collaborate with different partners, not only to support stakeholder platforms, but also to implement strategic initia­tives.

One of such partners is the Glob­al Water Partnership Tanzania (GWPTZ) that signed a Memoran­dum of Understanding with the ministries of Water in both Tan­zania mainland and Zanzibar, cov­ering various areas including pro­gramme development, resources mobilization, and capacity development as well as convening national and international events.

It is on the strength of the MoU that the GWPTZ has been support­ing the water sector in Tanzania mainland in implementing various initiatives including operational­ising the National Multi-Sectoral Forum (NMSF) through the Glob­al Water Leadership Programme (GWL) funded by FCDO. The programme supported the devel­opment of response strategy to bottlenecks impeding progress to climate resilient water resources management through NMSF work­ing groups.

The NMSF has been a game changer in water resource man­agement as noted by Dr George Lugomela, the Director of Water Resources at the ministry of Water.

“The financial and technical sup­port from Global Water Partnership to operationalize the NMSF work­ing groups brought insight, energy and enthusiasm in the sector. It also underscored the value of partner­ship in multi-sectoral collaboration in tackling complex issues in water resources management and climate resilience in the water sector,” Dr Lugomela said, urging other part­ners to join hands in supporting the National Multi-Sectoral Forum as well as other initiatives in the water sector.

Cattle trough and solar powered borehole constructed at Ruvu Darajani as part of the GCCA+ Project.

Moreover, GWPTZ)’s contri­bution extends beyond policy and planning to tangible physical pro­jects that directly impact communi­ties. The drilling of a solar powered borehole and construction of cattle troughs in Ruvu Darajani village is a prime example, showcasing efforts by GWP Tanzania to provide water for people as well as protecting river riparian zones from uncontrolled pastoral activities.

This is on and above constructing a modern office block for the Mvuha Water User Association in the Wami Ruvu Basin. This initiative was part of a broader programme under the Intra African Caribbean and Pacific - Global Climate Change Alliance program, funded by the European Union.

The Executive Director of Glob­al Water Partnership Tanzania (GWPTZ), Dr. Victor Kongo, high­lighted that “GWPTZ, is part of the regional Global Water Partnership of Southern Africa whose Regional Board Chair is His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, the fourth President of the United Republic of Tanzania. GWPTZ’s main objective is to support the country in ensur­ing sustainable climate resilience water resources management for current and future generations. We are now supporting the Ministry of Water through Basin Water Boards to access climate funds of which are critical in implementing climate resilient projects”

GWPTZ has been supporting the Ministry of Water, Energy and Min­erals in Zanzibar on various areas including undertaking strategic research on groundwater assess­ments, reviewing water policy, con­vening the annual International Zanzibar Water Conference among others. The annual water and ener­gy conference is planned to take place on 18 – 19 September 2024.

Moreover GWPTZ has been pio­neering the implementation of the AU-led Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) in Tanzania. GWPTZ supported Zanzibar to develop a $665 million Zanzibar Water Investment Programme, launched by His Excellency Dr. Ali Mwinyi, the President of Zanzi­bar in March 2022, and currently GWPTZ is supporting the Minis­try of Water in Tanzania to develop the $15.02 billion Tanzania Water Investment Programme. AIP aims to mobilize annual investments of $30 billion to bridge the water sec­tor’s investment gap in Africa.

Eng Mbogo Futakamba, the current Chairman of the Nation­al Water Board, commended the good efforts made by Global Water Partnership Tanzania, stating, “Achieving a climate-resilient water resource management system hinges on the seamless collabora­tion and coordination across differ­ent sectors and stakeholders”.

Eng Ngwisa Mpembe, the Board Chairman of Global Water Part­nership Tanzania, highlighted that “GWPTZ is committed to support­ing the United Republic of Tanzania in achieving Sustainable Develop­ment Goal number six by facili­tating the development of climate resilient projects that will ensure water security for all.”

The clear and significant impact of the partnership between GWPTZ and the ministries of Water in both mainland and Zanzibar showcases the importance of establishing col­laborative endeavours and engaging stakeholders in the water sector.