Tanzania Multi-Sector Forum on Water Resources: Collaboration Key to Ensuring Water Security

Senior leaders from the Tanzanian water sector convened at the Julius Nyerere International Conference Centre in Dar es Salaam on 3rd December 2019 for the 3rd National Multi-Sector Forum on Water Resources to explore strategies for strengthening the collaboration among stakeholders in Tanzania’s water sector. Attendees renewed the focus on water data collection and harmonization as a necessary step in enhancing the nation’s water security, particularly around groundwater use and management, underlining the need for collaboration and coordination among sector stakeholders.

The forum, which was hosted by the Ministry of Water in collaboration with the 2030 Water Resources Group, Raleigh Tanzania, Water Aid, and Shahidi wa Maji, was aimed at enhancing cross-sectoral coordination as envisioned in the country’s Integrated Water Resources Management Development (IWRMD) Plans by breaking down institutional silos and catalyzing the exchange of knowledge, expertise, technologies and financial resources required to improve the country’s future water security.

“The current resources will not increase but the population will increase. If we don’t plan effectively, conflicts of water will continue” said the Minister for Water, Professor Makame Mbarawa during his opening statement. “As a ministry, our focus has been to build water infrastructures – but we should also be working on managing and protecting our water resources,” he said, highlighting opportunities for increasing engagement with the private sector to do so.

From advanced wastewater treatment and reuse to efficient on-farm practices, some firms are very technologically advanced in both thinking and practice when it comes to managing factory fence – or on-site – risks. However, many smaller firms do not have the capacity – human resources, finance, and technical ability – to either build the business case for such resource efficiency or to implement the actual practices. To leverage existing local knowledge and practices, as well as help promote national business-to-business knowledge transfer around sustainable and integrated water management, it was agreed to develop a compendium of good practices in private sector water management and stewardship in Tanzania.

The Forum also committed to contributing the necessary resources towards improving the collection and harmonization of water data to support data-based water management planning, especially with regards to the nation’s groundwater resource availability, quality, and usage.

Tanzania is endowed with relatively abundant freshwater resources, but these are unevenly distributed and increasingly at risk. Water demand in the key economic sectors of agriculture, energy and manufacturing is rising sharply alongside rising requirements from population growth for supplying domestic consumption, improving the conditions of the poor and for the environment.

The need to work collaboratively is more urgent than ever. Climate change is likely to have severe consequences for Tanzania through increased temperatures, changes in rainfall, increasingly frequent extreme weather events and rising sea levels. By 2030, climate change is anticipated to cost two percent, or TZH 816 billion per year, of Tanzania’s GDP.

The forum, now officially in its third year, brings together senior leaders from government, business, research institutions, and civil society, to strengthen inter-sectoral collaboration, inform decision making at the national and basin levels, and help shape an improved institutional framework for decision making.

The forum will among other issues, review progress against the country’s seven IWRMD plans, developed during the implementation of the Water Sector Development Programme Phase I which ended in 2019. The plans aim to reduce the current fragmentation in water resources planning and management that results in water resources development and use being seen narrowly as a sectoral issue – and will define a roadmap for strengthening cooperation moving forward.

“Water cuts across all sectors, therefore strengthening collaboration and partnership among them is key to the performance and long-term sustainability of many sectors of the economy,” said the Minister for Water Prof. Makame Mbarawa, ahead of the event. “Better coordination between competing water resource users is a critical issue at both the national and local levels. This forum is an opportunity to create a shared understanding of the challenges we face, and to align our priorities to ensure the most optimal outcome for all water users while also safeguarding our water security for future generations.”

“This forum plays a critical role in fostering the necessary collaboration for the development of a more efficient and sustainable water resource management sub-sector. The discussions are essential to bridging the coordination gap between the various authorities engaged in water resources management and will help unlock opportunities for expanding business and improving local livelihoods through strengthened engagement with the private sector” said Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Water, Prof. Kitila Mkumbo.

Habari za Maji Media Awards
The forum also featured the presentation of the Habari za Maji Award which recognizes the important contribution from media professionals in raising awareness and increasing understanding of Tanzania’s water resource management challenges.

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About 2030 Water Resources Group: The 2030 Water Resources Group (2030 WRG) is a public, private, civil society partnership hosted by the World Bank Group that supports country-level collaboration designed to unite diverse groups with a common interest in the sustainable management of water resources. In Tanzania, 2030 WRG has been working with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation on strengthening collaborative approach to water management since 2013. For more information, please visit: www.2030wrg.org

About Raleigh Tanzania: Raleigh Tanzania is an NGO under the Non-Governmental Organisation Act 2002 (no. 00001469). The organization focus on providing access to safe water, sanitation & hygiene, protecting vulnerable environments, building resilient communities and empowering youth. Our work is delivered through diverse teams of young people in partnership with local communities, organisations and our project partners across Tanzani Raleigh Tanzania’s Social Accountability through Youth (SAY) aims to increase the success rate and value for money of development spending in the Dodoma, Iringa and Morogoro regions of Tanzania, benefitting more than 500,000 people. The project will empower over 400 young women and men, including people with disabilities, to effectively and independently monitor project delivery across 179 communities through improved reporting systems – such as a dedicated application named Development Check – and specialized training, these young people will gain an increased ability and confidence to hold development organizations to account and encourage their communities to do the same. For more, please read www.raleightanzania.org

About Shahidi wa Maji: Shahidi wa Maji is a Tanzanian Civil Society Organisation dedicated to sustainability, equity and accountability in water resource management since its formation in 2008. It is implementing Uhakika wa Maji (Fair Water Futures) programme in collaboration with member organizations of TAWASANET as well as Ministry of Water, NEMC and Basin Water Offices in improving water resources management. For more information please visit www.shahidiwamaji.org

About Water Aid: Since 1983, WaterAid Tanzania has been working closely with partners and stakeholders to make clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere. We are one of the leading players in the Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. Our work is closely aligned with the Government of Tanzania’s Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP), and our work aims to unblock the key challenges that the sector is facing in achieving the WSDP targets. We use the lessons and experiences from our projects on the ground to influence policy at the national level. For more information please visit www.wateraid.org

About Water Witness International: Water Witness International is an international NGO working to improve water security for the poor. Distinct from other NGOs operating in water their core expertise lies in water resource management with a focus on the institutional processes that determine whether people can access the water they need and how the sources of their water may be protected for future generations. They work at a local, national and global scale, driving improved water security through a multi-layered approach involving research to spotlight performance gaps; the development of innovative, progressive responses; collaborations with change-makers who can help us to implement those responses; evaluation of evidence and learning from field implementations and, finally, evidence-based advocacy on those learnings to drive change at scale. For more information please visit www.waterwitness.org