In July, 2030 Water Resources Group Tanzania launched the first-ever private sector roundtable to formalize a dedicated dialogue mechanism between the government and water-thirsty businesses on water management issues, subsequently aiming to enable the private sector to participate more fully in the country’s water resources management.
The roundtable, which is intended to be a yearly event, is intended to provide an opportunity for open discussion about the challenges faced by businesses in relation to water access and use and to identify and initiate collaborations between stakeholder groups that have traditionally operated independently in the context of water management.
The private sector perspective has been missing in existing water resource management forums, explained Dr. George Lugomela, Director of Water Resources for the Ministry of Water. “This is a missed opportunity in tapping into their innovativeness, experience and private sector capital in addressing water security challenges,” he said.
The July meeting was an opportunity for businesses to share common water-related challenges and provide recommendations for how these could be addressed moving forward.
The Confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) highlighted that some companies are unable to access sufficient water to meet their operational needs, forcing many to invest in boreholes or purchase water from private water-trucks to supplement municipal supply. In addition, some commercial water users have had to contend with water user fees that have been subject to change with little advance warning from Basin Water Boards, resulting in unpredictable costs.
Proposed avenues for addressing these concerns included increasing wastewater treatment capacity, particularly in Dar es Salaam; normalizing water user fees across Basin Water Boards; providing incentives for business to invest in water-use efficiency technologies; and drafting a code of ethics to cover water-use in industry.
These insights were welcomed by the Ministry of Water, which subsequently committed to taking-up the issues raised.
The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Water, Professor Mkumbo, said that he was pleased to see so much being done by the private sector on water resources management and echoed the need to take stock of the best policies, initiatives, and practices and to bring them to the national framework.
The next roundtable meeting is tentatively scheduled for July 2020.