SUSTAINABLE availability of water now calls for joint efforts between the government and the general public to protect water sources.
A nationwide tree planting campaign recently initiated by the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Prof Makame Mbarawa has gained momentum to make clean and safe water accessible to consumers for many years to come.
Speaking recently when officiating a tree planting exercise carried out around Upper Ruvu in Coast Region, Prof Mbarawa said the campaign would resolve help resolve the challenge of water shortage in the country. “Protection of water sources is not an option but an obligation. All water authorities in the country must take seriously the issue of tree planting to have all water sources well secured,” says Prof Mbarawa.
Adding: ‘’ Laws and regulations enacted to safeguard water sources should be respected and all defiant members of the society should be brought to justice.
Over 15,000 trees will be planted along the river bank of Upper Ruvu where a 192 MLT capacity Water Treatment Plant is located.
This is one of the major sources supplying water to Dar es Salaam and some parts of Coast Region. “No compromise whatsoever with those cultivating near water sources as some apply health-hazard fertilizers that eventually get drained to the rivers to the detriment of unsuspecting consumers,
“This is unacceptable strong measures must be taken to safeguard water sources for generations to come. Tree planting should be a permanent agenda countrywide,” Mbarawa insists.
In support of the initiative by the minister, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) Eng. Cyprian Luhemeja, calls for understanding among the general public to willingly take part in protection and improvement of water sources to guarantee its availability.
He says Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo and some parts of Coast region depend on two main water sources namely rivers and wells of which DAWASA was dedicated to provide protection.
“DAWASA takes the centre stage to protect water sources in recognition of such efforts to avert a serious water challenge likely to happen in the next decade due to rapid population growth in Dar es Salaam and the vagaries of climatic changes,” observes Luhemeja.
Commenting on the strategic plan for the year 2019, Luhemeja says by December at least 95 per cent of the population supplied by Dawasa would be connected to water services, therefore protection of water sources had been given a deserving attention.
“More customers will be connected this year to speed up the exercise that started last year. In this regard, protection of the water sources for us (DAWASA) is the first and foremost undertaking,” Luhemeja explains.
Towards the end of last year, Prof Mbarawa offici-ated a tree planting campaign at Kizinga river in Mbagala,which is the source of Mtoni Water Treatment Plant in Dar es Salaam. He insisted on the absolute need for the public to adhere to the 60-metres distance regulation of ban on human activities from water sources.
“The effects of destruction of water sources are vivid especially during the dry season. Those cultivating within 60 metres from water sources and those behind indiscriminate animal grazing must be checked to avoid unnecessary consequences. Tree planting is the way forward,” Prof Mbarawa underscores.
Temeke District Commissioner (DC), Felix Lyaniva who participated in Kizinga river tree planting campaign late last year says the historic source, the first to supply water in Dar es Salaam was established in 1949 and should be protected.
“River Kizinga must be protected. Any harmful or destructive undertakings will not be tolerated. I stay tuned to make sure that the abiding laws are fully respected ”Lyaniva remarks Towards the end of last year (2018), the Wami / Ruvu River Valley Management Board took additional measures to make sure that the law that prohibits any human activities within 60 metres from Ruvu River around Ruvu Darajani in Coast Region was observed.
The CEO of Wami RuvuValley, Simon Ngonyani calls for adherence to the regulations by all residents being a decisive measure to protect water sources.
“I was just speaking to DAWASA CEO, Luhemeja only to learn that some of the newly installed pumps had been rendered inefficient due to low water level of Ruvu River. Cultivation caused siltation that raised the river bed. We need to protect our resources,” Ngonyani appeals.
While in Mtwara, Prof Mbarawa issued directives to all nine water authorities in the country to take good care of all water sources and put in place strategic plans to ensure sustainable water resources.
“A serious degradation of Mtawanya water source within Mtwara District Council has been noticed. This is going to affect supply unless decisive measures are taken to avert the situation,”
“Extensive water projects funded by the government under President John Magufuli might be affected due to water shortage. This should not happen and conservation of water sources must be a priority,” Prof Mbarawa warns.
The minister spoke in relation to the Water Law Number 11 of 2009 that prohibited human activities within 60 metres of water sources and rivers also indicating that such areas should be demarcated to show clearcut boundaries.
“We don’t want to witness the huge and expensive government funded water projects turning into ruins due to lack of water. Preventive and improvement measures of water sources must be sustainable. This is possible through concerted efforts by every member of the society,” says Mbarawa.
Mtwara Urban District Commissioner (DC), Evodi Mmanda called for the residents to abide by the law willingly and protect water sources for their own future benefits. “Environmentally unfriendly trees should not be planted near water sources. Proper trees must be planted continuously and cultivation around water source is equally prohibited. Let people understand this and avoid being pushed through the legal arm,” Mr Mmanda explained.
The government has set aside 2.3bln/- says the DC, as payment to contractors undertaking various water projects in Mtwara region.
The demand for Mtwara Urban centre is 13.7 million litres a day while the current supply stands at 10 million litres a day. He says the amount was issued to facilitate timely completion of water projects in Mtwara region where 45 of such projects are complete while 33 others are at different stages of implementation.