Up to 1.9 million Tanzanian citizens stand to benefit from new financing approved last week by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors towards the nation’s Water sector, including 700,000 residents of the country’s largest city, Dar es Salaam.
With an estimated 54 per cent of its population expected to live in primary and secondary cities by 2030, up from 24.4 percent (equivalent to 11 million) in 2012, Tanzania is considered to be urbanizing quite rapidly. Dar es Salaam currently accounts for 40 per cent of the urban population (or 4.4 million inhabitants in 2012) and is expected to continue to be the favored destination for the bulk of new urban residents.
The newly approved financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* through the Second Water Sector Support Project amounts to $225 million and will support the strengthening of capacities for integrated water resources planning and management in Tanzania, as well as improve access to water supply and sanitation services in an efficient manner in Dar es Salaam.
In 2015/2016, the city’s non-revenue water (NRW – water that is produced but is somehow lost in the system) rate reached a high of 53 percent, against a water service coverage of about 55 percent.
“In Dar es Salaam, many citizens, including women and young girls, still spend considerable time collecting water, which takes time away from education and the productive activities so necessary for strengthening their livelihoods,” says Bella Bird, World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Burundi, Malawi and Somalia. “This project aims to lessen their burden while contributing to Dar es Salaam’s increased competitiveness and productivity as a critical and vibrant commercial hub of the country.”
The World Bank has supported various initiatives in Tanzania’s water sector including the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (2002–2008); and the Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Project (2003–2010). The two projects provided the foundation for the development of the Government of Tanzania’s Water Sector Development Program (WSDP) in 2006, to which the World Bank provided financing under Water Sector Support Project (2007–2015).
While Tanzania is endowed with relatively abundant freshwater sources, these are unevenly distributed and coming under increasing pressure. In this regard, good progress was achieved through the WSDP-1 with the development of vital legal and institutional reforms for effective Integrated Water Resource Management. These include the completion of integrated water resources management and development plans for six basins (Internal Drainage, Lake Nyasa, Ruvuma and Southern Coast Rivers, Lake Tanganyika, Rufiji River, and Lake Rukwa), with plans currently underway for the remaining three: Pangani, Lake Victoria and the Wami-Ruvu basin in which Dar es Salaam is located.
The latest financing builds upon the progress attained by the Tanzanian Government in the sector with financing that was mobilized by Government and multiple donors under the WSDP-1 as a sector-wide approach (SWAp) encompassing the entire water and sanitation agenda in the country.
In September 2015, the Ministry of Water and Irrigation reported that 7.9 million people had gained access to safe water through 584,473 household connections and 5,836 kiosks and public taps; and 527,000 people were connected to the sewerage system. MOWI also reported that 2.8 million Dar es Salaam residents also achieved access to safe water supply through 152,000 domestic connections and 203 kiosks/public standpipes; while about 326,130 people were connected to the sewerage network.
“Despite these achievements, there are considerable challenges that the Water sector faced in the course of WSDP-1 implementation and this latest project design builds on the lessons learned from those experiences, in the way it addresses issues such as inadequate coordination among institutions, weak data management and reporting mechanisms, and operational inefficiency,” says Yitbarek Tessema, the World Bank’s Lead Water and Sanitation Specialist who is also the task team leader for the newly approved Second Water Sector Support Project.