Dar es Salaam. President Samia Suluhu Hassan thinks that the ongoing water crisis that Tanzania is experiencing is contributed, among other factors, by the large number of livestock that currently exists in the East African nation.
The Head of State made the observation on Friday, November 11, 2022, in Kigamboni during a function to launch the Sh24 billion water project that is expected to pump about 70 million litres of water into the streets of Dar es Salaam per day.
Tanzania is experiencing its worst drought in decades, with its commercial capital Dar es Salaam being the hardest-hit region as its main source of water, the Ruvu River, is said to undergo shrinking water levels thanks to the drought.
But speaking in Kigamboni on Friday, President Samia explained that there could be another explanation why Tanzania is experiencing a water crisis of this level: a large number of livestock in the country.
According to the president, the large number of livestock contributes to environmental degradation which in turn leads to drought and thus challenges in the availability of water resources.
“There is a large number of livestock that is allowed into the rivers, they arbitrarily wonder, and this contributes to environmental degradation.
“This is because the land that this large number of livestock, around 5,000 livestock, walk on at the same time, if that area is a wetland, and is capable of producing water, it ceases to be so.
“Also, one head of cattle is thought to drink 45 litres of water per day, now imagine how many litres of water are used to drink millions of heads of cattle that this country has,” President Samia wondered.
According to the Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Census for 2019/2020 by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Tanzania has an estimated 33.9 million cattle, ranking second in Africa with the number of cattle behind Ethiopia with an average of 60.39 million cattle.
Samia’s latest assessment of the causes of water challenges in Tanzania comes hardly a week after she blamed the ongoing Dar es Salaam’s water woes on “irresponsible” human activities at and around the Ruvu River.
Officiating a two-day national convention on clean cooking energy in Dar es Salaam on November 2, 2022, she named deforestation in Pwani 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.
On Friday, the Head of State challenged the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries to find ways in which livestock can be controlled in Tanzania, suggesting that their growth should not come at the expense of environmental protection.
She also proposed some measures that could be taken to ensure the constant availability of water in the country.
For example, she challenged the Ministry of Water on how they can come up with infrastructures that could save rainwater from wasting away and instead tap them for use.
“We can build big dams to store this water for our uses and prevent it from going to the ocean,” President Samia suggested.