Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Mtwara region to get a relief from a Multi-billion water project

CONSTRUCTION of over 600bn/- water project to cater for industry boom in Southern Tanzania in Mtwara Region is scheduled to start this financial year, the government affirmed on Tuesday this week. Upon completion, the project which is expected to consume 281 million US dollars (about 604bn/) will supply the region with 120 million litres daily from Ruvuma river, according to the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, Engineer Mbogo Mfutakamba. The project comes amid soaring number of industries, which the gas and oil extraction has triggered in the region and the government’s vision towards the industrial based economy by 2025. Speaking to reporters in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday this week, Engineer Mfutakamba said the governments of Tanzania and China will implement the project, adding that China will finance the project through a soft loan. The PS was briefing the media on the sidelines of the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) hosted tenth annual conference of the Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation Regulators Association (ESAWAS). 

The water sector regulators from the sub-region have convened in the city to chat out strategies to improve access to water in the region, heading to the United Nations agreement that requires all member states to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030. The PS stated that the technical part of the project, including the feasibility study and evaluation for compensation of potential evictees to pave way for the project, has already been done. He said the signing of financial agreements with China is what has remained before construction works by Chinese contractor start. “Upon completion, Mtwara will be accessing enough water for industrial and domestic uses ... the region currently receives 60 million litres daily, but this project alone will supply two times the current amount,” said Engineer Mfutakamba. Among others, Dangote Cement Industry would be the first project beneficiaries. Water and Irrigation Minister Gerson Lwenge said Tanzania was in good position as compared to many African countries in terms of access to clean and safe water, noting that while many countries last year reached an average of 50 per cent of water access in rural and urban areas, Tanzania water access in rural and urban areas stands at 60 and 76 per cent, respectively. Engineer Lwenge, however, said African countries were still struggling with climate change in efforts to increase water access. “There is, therefore, need for all actors at national and regional levels to initiate climate resilient initiatives through investments in innovative water management practices and infrastructural development to mitigate negative impacts of climate change on water,” said the minister. He touted increased investments in infrastructure expansion, rehabilitation of the existing systems and increased efficiency in existing systems to address the challenges and subsequently achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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