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Water shortages are critical in villages

Efforts that went into these projects included rehabilitation of national water sources and establishment of rain water harvesting systems including large storage tanks. The projects will also benefit two primary schools. This is delightful news, to say the very least.

Water shortage is a serious problem in most of the 12,000 rural villages in Tanzania. In some villages it is unsafe water drawn from holes in the ground that is used for domestic chores or even consumed.

No wonder the prevalence of water-borne diseases is almost endemic. Diseases such as cholera, typhoid, bilharzias, trachoma and diarrhoea, just to mention a few, keep recurring in rural families, hitting children the hardest. So, is not uncommon for women in rural Tanzania to walk many hours to fetch water that is not even considered safe to drink.

In Tanzanian cities most people wake each morning and turn on a tap without giving it a thought. It is heartening, however, to see that despite living under such hardships, rural Tanzanians are full of life and spirit. Lack of clean water is a critical problem. Collecting water can take up to five hours a day in rural villages.

Some rural women carry as much as 18 kilos on their heads as they walk 10 kilometres or more each way, to and from the water source. We are aware that the state and its development partners provide access to clean water by building wells and boreholes. And to ensure that wells are sustainable over many years, each village elects a community (well) management team and determines rules (for the well).

Unfortunately, national efforts have a long way to go before delivering clean water to villages. It would be remiss on our part, however, not to mention expressly that sanitation will remain another critical problem if clean water remains short. Of course, the nation has numerous water projects in various stages of implementation but some have stalled.

Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens hundreds of children every day and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands of people in this country. Authorities should be aware that without water, sanitation and hygiene, sustainable development is impossible.

It is unthinkable that more than 50 years after Independence most Tanzanians still lack safe drinking water. Efforts in this direction must be jacked up. Villagers need to thrive and prosper. Life must go on.

NATIONAL Cohesion is one of the social qualities ...

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Author: EDITOR

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