All Africa: Tanzania – Plans Underway to Boost Water Catchment Areas

News Source: allAfrica (Tanzania Daily News)

A major multi stakeholder initiative to improve water management in the Great Ruaha River has been launched to review supply and demand challenges in the catchment area, which is a vital part of the national economy.

According to a statement, the Great Ruaha Restoration Campaign (GRRC) brings together stakeholders impacted by water stress from across the public sector, private sector and civil society, to find collective solutions to water challenges in the basin.

The initiative, led by the 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG) in partnership with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation and the Rufiji Basin Water Board, aims to bring about a cultural change in the way water is managed and used in a sustainable way.

“This campaign will unite stakeholders in a coordinated, action-oriented coalition to find solutions to the basin’s water challenges,” the 2030 WRG Country Representative, Mr Onesmo Sigalla said.

The Rufiji Basin Water Board in collaboration with CEO Round Table of Tanzania, SAGCOT Centre, World Wildlife Fund Tanzania and 2030 WRG Tanzania Partnership held a workshop recently in Iringa town to review and endorse the concept of the initiative.

The GRRC will be based on the long-awaited Rufiji Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Plan for the Great Ruaha sub-basin. This plan promotes the coordinated development and management of water, land and other resources.

Mr Sigalla said that the campaign aimed at enabling the private sector to work alongside government and civil society groups to identify, discuss and address current and future water supply and demand challenges.

The campaign will share lessons from effective water stewardship projects inside or outside the catchment in order to promote, replicate and scale-up successful initiatives. This will be accompanied by project proposal development, financing, implementation and monitoring support.

The ‘collective action’ approach of the discussions to kick-start the initiative was endorsed by Eng Emmanuel Kalobelo, the Assistant Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, when launching the campaign.

He observed: “Business can play a major role by being a key voice in the debate alongside government, civil society and academia,” Eng Kalobelo reflected that every person living in Tanzania has now witnessed water stress and has ‘a story to tell’ about its effects. He further commended 2030 WRG for mobilising stakeholders to develop credible interventions and coordinate existing plans to restore the flow of the Great Ruaha.

The 2-day launch event in Iringa town identified the interests and capacities of more than 70 stakeholders. The emerging campaign leadership will now work with supporters to determine priority action areas and working groups.

The 2030 Water Resources Group is a unique, public-private-civil society collaboration that facilitates open, trust-based dialogue processes to drive action on water resources reform in water stressed countries in developing economies.

The ultimate aim of such reforms and actions is to close the gap between water demand and supply by the year 2030. The 2030 WRG emerged in 2009 through a collaboration between the IFC, the World Economic Forum, multilateral and bilateral agencies (Swiss and Swedish Development Cooperation), private sector companies (Nestlé, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, SABMiller), and other organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund.

The Rufiji Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Plan for the Great Ruaha sub basin were compiled to inform the discussions of the 2030 WRG and support the Great Ruaha Restoration Campaign.

The plan, presented to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, has assessed the resource availability and demand both in historic time and future projection to 2035. The plan indicates five strategic focus areas: water for social development, water for economic development, disaster risk management, environmental conservation and water governance.