Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday said that human activities are to blame for the drying up of the Ruvu River, Dar es Salaam’s main source of water, leading to water rationing that currently affects the city’s 5.3 million residents.
Officiating a two-day national convention on clean cooking energy in the city, the Head of State pointed an accusing finger at deforestation in the Pwani region where the river is located as well as irresponsible construction of infrastructure to supply water to “foreign-owned” individuals, calling them the culprits of the ongoing situation.
“These people have put in place barriers that prevent water from flowing freely,” Samia complained. “You find that heavy-duty machines have been placed to pump water to the farms, foreign-owned farms, not farms of people living in the area.”
“Others have built ponds, which they use for aquaculture,” she added.
Samia directed the regional commissioners of Dar es Salaam and Pwani as well as the Dar es Salaam Water and Sanitation Authority (DAWASA) to carry out a joint operation to get rid of these barriers, assured that that would keep the water flowing to Dar es Salaam.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial capital, is on its fifth day of water rationing since DAWASA announced it on October 27, 2022, citing a drop in water levels at Ruvu River, a situation the authority associated with drought.
READ MORE: DAWASA Starts Rationing Water Due to Drought
This is the second water rationing to be announced in less than a year as Tanzania is battling little rainfall, with meteorologists warning that the prolonged dry spell will continue.
On November 8, 2021, DAWASA announced the decision of water-rationing, saying they reached the decision as a result of climate change effects reducing water content from their source.
On top of the directive that all barriers preventing water from flowing freely are removed, President Samia also reiterated her calls to Dar’s authorities to make sure the city is connected with Kigamboni as part of the strategies to resolve the former’s water woes.
“The money for the exercise has already been released,” Samia noted. “[If the connection is done], a total of 70 million litres of water will be supplied to the city, something which will significantly reduce the ongoing problems associated with water shortages.”
Samia also criticised “archaic” water-supply infrastructure in Dar es Salaam, saying that they were not meant to serve the current number of people living in the city.
“It is therefore very important for relevant authorities to examine these infrastructures,” President Samia ordered. “Based on studies published, Dar es Salaam can be 100 per cent water sufficient by 2023. This needs to be looked at.”
She also criticised improper building in Dar es Salaam for contributing to the city’s inability to be water-sufficient.
“It is very difficult for any water system that will be designed to work properly here [in Dar es Salaam],” the Head of State complained. “So, all relevant authorities should work on these issues under the supervision of Prime Minister [Kassim Majaliwa].”
Lukelo Francis is The Chanzo journalist based in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.