Friday, November 27, 2015

Few Tanzanians benefits from tap water - report

Only one in three Tanzanians has access to piped water this despite grand National and International development plans like the Big Results Now and the just ended Millennium Development Goals respectively. According to a research titled ‘Half empty or half full?’ that was conducted by Twaweza inquiring as to citizens’ views when it comes to access to clean water, just one out of three citizens (36 per cent) said they have access to piped water. The research also shows that 35 per cent of wananchi still rely on wells while 18 per cent depend on surface water, both being generally less hygienic sources of the precious liquid. “The difference between urban and rural areas is significant with half of urban residents (51 per cent) having access to piped water on their premises compared to only 11 per cent of their rural counterparts,” the report reads in part.  “Overall only 41 per cent of rural residents have access to any kind of improved water source as compared to 69 per cent of citizens in urban areas,” it details. The findings are based on data collected from 1,852 respondents across Mainland Tanzania between 9 and 26 September 2015 through mobile phone survey. The study also found that close to half (44 per cent) of citizens spend over 30 minutes collecting water for their day today needs this despite the fact that  government recommends no more than half an hour be spent in fetching water.  In general, the survey found that citizens experience a range of issues in accessing water, with significant differences in the experiences of rural and urban communities.  Rural residents emphasise the distance to water points (47 per cent) and dirtiness of the water (40 per cent), while urban residents are troubled by irregular supply (43 per cent) and cost (40 per cent).  “In both urban and rural areas, around one out of three citizens cite the lack of water points as a major challenge,” the report also revealed. It goes on to unveil that only a little over half of Tanzanians (57 per cent) report doing something to make their drinking water safe. The majority saying they boil water (85 per cent). Other popular alternatives are straining (69 per cent) or letting the water stand and settle (38%), but these are not considered by international standards to be acceptable methods of water treatment. “Unsurprisingly, 65 per cent of citizens see access to clean water as a major challenge facing their community. Despite two years of the Big Results Now initiative, most citizens (80 per cent) report seeing no change in the water sector over the past two years,” the report reads. “The saying goes, water is life...sadly for too many Tanzanians, water can actually be deadly,” commented Executive Director of Twaweza Aidan Eyakuze.  “Years of data have shown us that merely increasing resources does not improve access to safe, clean water,” Eyakuze went on to say. “As the new government begins its work, we have a unique opportunity to radically review our strategies in the water sector,” he said and went on to admit that providing every citizen with water in a sparsely populated, large country such as Tanzania is particularly challenging.  “But there is no escaping the need to reach every citizen with this vital service,” he cautioned.  “So, we have no choice but to think quickly and creatively to guarantee citizens’ basic right of access to clean and safe water,” the Executive Director summed up.

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