COST- cutting measures and restricting the organisation of management of various water utility authorities are among key moves that have yielded positive impact in the supply of water across the country.
They are part of major reforms that have been implemented during the first five years of President John Magufuli presidency in an effort to provide an improved access to clean and safe water in rural and urban areas.
The achievements have come at the expense of various bold decisions that the government opted, in favour of the bigger interest of citizens, who have suffered for a long time.
Implementations of the cost cutting measures were for the first time executed in Dar es Salaam and Coast region where there were two water utilities, Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa) and Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Company (Dawasa). Both institutions are under the ministry of water.
Despite the presence of the two public entities still the supply of water service in Dar es Salaam and Coast region never impressed Dr Magufuli before and after he assumed the presidential role.
In fact, poor performance of the water sector in the country was among his major concerns during his presidential campaigns in 2015.
By the year 2015, the access to clean water in rural areas was recorded at 47 per cent while 84 per cent was in urban areas.
However, in Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo and Kibaha, the supply was at 68 per cent, a move that never impressed Dr Magufuli and he promised to work on it accordingly.
And, he did the same by increasing the water budget and initiated a number of projects and pushed for a timely completion of those projects whose completion were delayed.
On July 21st, 2017 when launching the 78bn/- project for expansion of the upper Ruvu Water Treatment Plant in Mlandizi, President Magufuli ordered the merger of Dawasa and Dawasco for the sake of improving performance and reducing cost of operation.
Dr Magufuli was of the view that there was no need to have two boards of directors overseeing the two organisations that were doing similar jobs.
Due to this, the Dawasa and Dawasco merged in September 2018 and continued to perform functions and duties as specified in the Dawasa Act number 20 of 2001.
The merging of two bodies was aimed at improving efficiency and reducing operational costs so as to increase supply of safe and clean water and control outbreaks of waterborne diseases.
Deputy Minister for Water Mr Jumaa Aweso was quoted advising the two bodies to embrace the spirit of hard working as the decision to merge the two aimed at improving supply of precious liquid in their areas of jurisdiction.
“The merger should not bring conflict between Dawasa and Dawasco. They need to work together to see how they can improve the new water authority as well ensuring the people of Dar es Salaam are guaranteed access to clean and safe water,” he said.
Right now, the Upper Ruvu water plant has increased water production capacity of the plant from 82,000 to 196,000 litres per day, which has eased the water problem in Dar es Salaam.
It has also implemented another mega project following the construction of a 10 million capacity water tank at Kibamba on the outskirt of Dar es Salaam city which also is among the effort by the entity to resolve the region water blues especially in areas facing acute water problems such as Kigamboni, Temeke, Segerea and Ukonga constituency to name a few.
On his side Dawasco Chief Executive Officer, Cyprian Luhemeja said that they were doing well in improving supply of clean and safe water in Dar es Salaam and Coast regions.
The aim was to end the problem of water scarcity by 2020 to 2025 as they are building water networks to areas which had no network and renovating the old ones.
In the past five years, the Water Ministry in its efforts to enhance the sector performance and availability and reliability of the precious liquid, merged 130 utilities to remain with 69.
This has become one of the success stories attained by the ministry as mentioned by the Permanent Secretary Prof Kitila Mkumbo recently.
According to Prof Mkumbo, the smooth merging of Dawasa and Dawasco to become Dawasa, serving Dar es Salaam and Coast region is among key achievements by the ministry in the history of Tanzania, as now the access to clean and safe water in rural areas has increased.
Countrywide, water supply in rural areas has so far increased to 70.1 per cent from 47 per cent in 2015, while in urban areas the ratio has jumped to 84 per cent in 2020 from 74 per cent in 2015.
He said the merging has improved service delivery and the trimming down has been smoothly undertaking without disturbing the utilities operations.
“We have changed laws to that effect and it has come to our attention that the merge has contributed to a number of achievements in the water sector for the past five years,” noted Prof Mkumbo.
Dawasco was established in May 2005 under the Public Corporations Act 1992. Following negotiations Dawasa and Dawasco signed a new ten-year Lease Contract effective 1 July 2005 the contract was extended to 2018 to allow the government to merge the two utilities.
The water supply and Sanitation Act no 5 of 2009 came into operation on July 1st 2019 through Government Notice number 460 of 2019 published on June 14th 2019. With the new Act in place, Dawasa changed its name to Dar es Salaam water supply and Sanitation Authority.
Also the Act no 05/2019 established the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (Ruwasa) which is responsible for implementing and overseeing water supply and sanitation projects in rural areas, thus water supply Departments in Dar es Salaam were abolished and activities implemented therein were transferred to Dawasa.