TODAY, 54 per cent of the world’s population or 3.9 billion people live in urban centres, and projections suggest the figure will keep increasing until at least 2050.
The shift from a rural to an urban-dominated globe signals more strongly than ever the need to transform how cities develop. Architects, engineers, urban planners, civil society and policy makers face the challenges of creating sustainable, healthy, smart, green, adaptive, inclusive, productive, safe, flexible and resilient cities.
These are just a few of the characteristics that will help urban centres thrive in the face of rising populations, growing informal settlements, pollution and environmental degradation, challenges often combined with poor governance and service delivery.
Some cities around the world are pioneering the way, helping the development community envision alternatives to mainstream models of urban development, and focusing on creating environmentally friendly ‘cities for the people’, rather than economic growth.
Innovative thinking in urban planning, urban design, and urban technology are some of the transformative solutions that are shifting the way the world views cities. Urban planners say that by 2050, an estimated two-thirds of the world’s population — about 6.2 billion people — will live in urban centres.
In other words, we will see urban growth which essentially mean rising urban populations and urbanization which translates into higher proportion of people will live in cities.
Interestingly, the fastest growing urban settlements are not the megacities that so often hit the headlines, but the medium-sized and smaller cities that house less than 1 million inhabitants.
By 2025, urban planners say megacities will have accounted for just 10 per cent of global urban growth.
Medium and large cities will contribute to more than half of global growth, followed closely by small cities. African cities, such as Dar es Salaam, will also have to invest huge sums in sewage systems, roads and other infrastructure if they want to house the millions of people who are likely to move there in the coming years.
Dar es Salaam’s rapid growth is mostly fuelled by natural population growth and rural-to-city migration. Migration is driven primarily by economic incentives such as trade, but also the search for a better quality of life and opportunities.
Informal settlements (slums) such as Mbagala, Manzese, Tandale Kwa Mtogole and Buguruni that often occupy areas just outside the city centre are arguably a unique feature of Dar es Salaam city.
Slum dwellers face distinct challenges such as insecure land tenure and unsafe housing. Public services such as electricity grids or sanitation infrastructure do not reach them.
This, and close living quarters, increases their risk of infectious diseases. Taking these challenges into consideration, the Dar es Salaam Sewerage and Water Corporation (DAWASCO) has come with an innovative plan to meet the city’s challenges posed by rapid urbanization.
Under a World Bank-funded programme, Dar es Salaam will transform, pioneer innovative planning, integrative design and use of technology as it strives for a safe and a healthy environment for all.
The focus of the three-year 180-million USD dollar project will be to ensure that the city has healthy living and working environments, and infrastructure for basic services such as clean water, sanitation and waste water management.
Economists and urban planners estimate that by 2030, Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg in South Africa and Luanda in Angola will have joined Kinshasa, capital of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Lagos, commercial capital of Nigeria as Africa’s leading mega cities, each with more than a population of 10 million people.
This jump from a large city to a mega city entails improving the quality of life in a city, including ecological, cultural, political, institutional, social and economic components without living a burden on the future generations, experts say.
In keeping with the basic principles of sustainable development, the World Bankfunded scheme will focus on improvement of water supply, sanitation, management and implementation.
The main goal is to support the Government of Tanzania in expanding access to clean and safe water supply and sanitation, according to the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (DAWASCO) 2017/2018 Annual Plan and Budget.
The Breton Woods institution is expected to disburse 44.8bn/- during the 2017/18 fi nancial year towards implementation of the envisaged projects.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DAWASCO, Engineer Cyprian Luhemeja says that already the government has prepared a Special Wastewater Management Improvement Programme focusing on applying a more efficient technology to cope with the expected wastewater production due to improved water supply availability.
Engineer Luhemeja says that the overall goal of the programme is to increase the sewerage network from 10 percent to 30 percent by the end of the 2017/18 fiscal year and a feasibility study conducted by a South Korean company, M/S CHEIL Engineering, put the cost of the project at 809bn/ To speed up the programme’s implementation, the government has signed an agreement with the Exim Bank of Korea and the World Bank to finance the Msimbazi and Mbezi Beach Sewerage System.
Discussions, according to Luhemeja, are continuing with other donors such as the Danish International Development Authority (DANIDA) and AFD to finance the Jangwani and Kurasini Wastewater Treatment Plants.
Luhemeja adds, “During the current financial year DAWASCO would also enhance its MAMA TUA NDOO YA MAJI KICHWANI Campaign aimed at lessening the workload on women who, in some places of Dar es Salaam, spend hours in search of water despite a much improved water supply, thanks to major investment by Government into water production and supply infrastructure.”
DAWASCO CEO also says that his corporation also envisages improvement of household data to 450,000, raising water service coverage to 80 percent.
Furthermore, the authority will increase domestic water kiosks in various parts of the city from 560 to 1,000 to compliment water service coverage.
The water utility also has plans to reduce the loss of water to 28 percent by next June which will the first time in history for such a major reduction in non-revenue water in the City of Dar es Salaam.
Moreover, the management will ensure that the corporation adheres to risk compliance and corporate governance which will be administered by the Monitoring and Evaluation Unit.
Crafted strategies towards achieving the planned goals include producing a total of 177,156,000m cubic litres of water and supplying a total of 159,441,000m cubic litres while maintaining revenue collection efficiency at 95 percent.
In the current financial year, the utility plans to collect 179.3bn/- compared to 136.6bn/- projected during the 2016/17 fiscal year. In line with DAWASCO expanding activities will be the construction of three big wastewater treatment plants in Temeke, Ilala and Kinondoni Districts.
The project will also involve extension of wastewater distribution network.
These plans combined with the new, innovative and young management under Eng Luhemeja, DAWASCO should be a massively transformed service delivery organization, capable of quality delivery of safe and clean water as well as sanitation and sewerage services to the ever increasing population of Dar Es Salaam and urban centres of Coastal Region.