Daily News: Initiative to tackle Arusha’s water challenges launched

News Source: Daily News

DAILY NEWS REPORTER

A MAJOR Water Stewardship Leadership Forum, held in Arusha, has seen the launch of new initiatives to tackle the region’s spiralling water challenges.

The multi-stakeholder Kilimanjaro Water Stewardship Platform provides organisations from across the public sector, private sector and civil society with a mechanism to develop, coordinate and scale up solutions to tackle the growing water resource challenges in the Pangani River Basin.

It was formally launched by the Minister of Water and Irrigation Gerson Lwenge together with Mr Anders Berntell, Executive Director of the 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG).

“I am particularly inspired that there is a deliberate effort to engage the private sector in managing water resources,” Lwenge said, adding that he was passionate about the Platform’s collective action approach. The landmark forum also included a master-class for water leaders from across Africa.

The three day regional event drew upon lessons generated by innovative work undertaken by Diageo and Serengeti Breweries Limited to implement ‘the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard’ which represents international best practice on water management – at their Moshi site.

The platform is designed to promote practical solutions in areas such as increasing the productivity of water use in agriculture, developing and scaling up partnerships for improved catchment management, and promoting the uptake of the AWS stewardship standards.

The initiative’s co-ordinator, Onesmo Sigalla, was equally supportive of setting a progressive agenda to maximise water stewardship’s contribution to sustainable development by joining businesses with government and civil society efforts.

“The launch of this platform is critical to ensure that economic growth in the region is not constrained by water security issues, and to demonstrate the potential for the private sector to drive wider sustainable water stewardship,” said Sigalla.

The Leadership Forum highlighted specific water stewardship efforts in the region, including implementation of the AWS Standard by Serengeti Breweries, with support from Shahidi wa Maji, Water Witness International, and the Scottish Government.

This work is helping the company to manage the water and climate risks facing their brewery and its supply chain. The implementation of the new standard was used as a hands-on case study at a ‘Water Stewardship Masterclass’, an advanced training for practitioners, held during the event.

Sustainability and Responsibility Manager for Serengeti Breweries Limited, Ms Hawa Ladha underlined the company’s commitment to the initiative and explained: “By being one of the first African companies to implement the AWS’ Standard we are making a strong, public commitment towards the need for better water management in the region”. Almost twenty organisations have already indicated their commitment to actively participate.

Founding members include the Pangani Basin Water Board, Tanzania Horticulture Association (TAHA), 2030 WRG and the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWASP).

The Pangani River Basin is home to a large number of commercial agriculture producers (in particular coffee and sugar) and has the largest concentration of horticulture and floriculture producers in Tanzania – with over 30 companies in the region identified as exporting to European markets.

The Pangani is also globally recognised for its forest and biodiversity resources which generates an estimated US$50 million alone in revenue each year for the Tanzanian economy. The river basin is already water stressed, and evidence suggests its resources will become increasingly constrained.