The government of Tanzania has scrapped 36 water supply authorities in Tanzania to save on operating costs. This is part of the government’s efforts to reduce on administrative expenditure and save money that would be used in implementing water projects in rural areas.
According to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Prof Kitilya Mkumbo, the move will see some regional water authorities being given more responsibilities. “The tasks of the district and township water supply and sanitation institutions will now be merged with regional authorities,” he said.
Some of those expected to extend their reach include the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa), which will now cover Kibaha, Bagamoyo, Kisarawe and Mkuranga in the Coastal Region.
“Furthermore, 40 authorities will now operate under the supervision of the Rural Water and Sewerage Authority (Ruwasa),” added Prof Mkumbo.
Water supply and sanitation in Tanzania
Access to water and sanitation remains low in Tanzania. However, the government of Tanzania embarked on a major sector reform process since 2002 when an update was made to the National Water Policy NAWAPO. At that time, the central government reported that only 42% of rural households had access to improved water and that 30% of all water systems in the country were inoperative.
An ambitious National Water Sector Development Strategy that promotes integrated water resources management and the development of urban and rural water supply was adopted in 2006. Decentralisation has meant that responsibility for water and sanitation service provision has shifted to local government authorities and is carried out by 20 urban utilities and about 100 district utilities, as well as by Community Owned Water Supply Organisations in rural areas.
Of the twenty Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authorities (UWSSAs) that operate in Tanzania, three are able to provide continuous water supply (Arusha, Songea and Tanga).