Moshi — WATER has always been the source of life and it is said, if a third world war would occur (God forbid), the source could be scrambling for this precious liquid.
Over the years, quantity and quality of water has been decreasing, due to an increase in population that unfortunately cause harm to environment, hence water sources.
Environmental degradation has been harmful so much so that even areas that used to have plenty of water came to be faced with unprecedented scarcity.
One of those areas is Kilimanjaro region, where there is Africa’s highest mountain – Mount Kilimanjaro, the source of water for many over centuries.
In the past, natural laws called for people to take care of the environment, and so they did until when some decided to break some tradition, and cut trees, farm near water sources and even stop planting trees.
Such behaviour has affected so many countries, Tanzania being one of them and Kilimanjaro region in particular, and as a result wananchi experienced tough times, as far as availability of water is concerned.
The very act of people going against the natural laws in respect of environment, made it imperative for the government to form laws, setting demarcations on what they can do and what they are not allowed.
The government has always urged and supervised afforestation activities, and now Kilimanjaro once again looks green, albeit partly.
In regard to citizens having access to clean and safe water for their daily activities, among other things the government formed water authorities all over the country to regulate production and supply of the same.
Moshi municipality, an area with about 250,000 people that sits under the slopes of the Kilimanjaro Mountain underwent ups and downs as far as water production and supply is concerned, and it was not until 1998 that it got its water authority.
Popularly known by its acronym ‘Muwsa’, the Moshi Urban Water Supply and Sewerage Authority has strived for so long to ensure citizens get the best service that is access to clean and safe water at a shortest distance possible.
As a public institution, Muwsa is tasked to ensure that Moshi residents are also connected to a sewerage waste disposal network.
It would be expected that, given its geographical location, Moshi would not face any water scarcity especially bearing in mind that government dishes out a sizable amount of money every financial year to the authority.
That was not the case; Moshi town residents faced difficult moments due to water rationing even when it was raining.
The new Muwsa Managing Director, Engineer Cyprian Luhemeja has come up with a different approach to implement Big Result Now (BRN) that has ended water rationing.
“As from August 1 this year, there is no more water rationing, supply is now on 24 hours basis a day, so long as I am here, we are starting a new chapter, and I am for big results now, no more business as usual,” says Muwsa boss.
The roadmap entails Muwsa going digital as the authority has introduced call centers, so that customers who lack water supply can contact MUWSA staff who will be available day and night to make sure water supply is not interrupted at any point in time.
“We are not wasting time, we have started right away with these call centers… customers do not need to come to our offices, just ring we will go to their respective areas,” he says.
What customers who experience water problems are supposed to do is to ring the numbers, explain the sort of problems, give geographical locations so that if the problem cannot be solved from the other end, engineers go to customers’ houses,The numbers are 0275500021, +2552755045 and a toll free one; 0785555555, the cost of which the authority bears.
In the digital aspect still, Muwsa has started a registration exercise of customers’ mobile numbers so that monthly bills are sent through.
Customers will as well pay the same through Tigo-Pesa, M-Pesa, Airtel Money, Zain-Money and do not have to go physically at the authority’s offices.
“This use of phones to notify the authority of water problems and the new payment system will spare our customers of their valued time to do economic activities instead of planning safari to our offices now and then,” says the MD.
The Authority key results areas in the 180 days are to reduce water leakage from the said 39 per cent experienced in June this year to nine percent come the end of this year.
Engineer Luhemeja says Muwsa is going to widen water network, that is increasing customers from the existing 28,000 to 35,000 in December this year, target being to have 50,000 customers in June 2014.
On a business, Muwsa targets to increase water supply and collection of bills from the current 302m/- to 821m/- in December this year. “It might seem that we are over ambitious in these targets, but mind you we are implementing Big Results Now… I was one of 29 experts who drafted BRN on water sector,” the Engineer says confidently.
Apart from Moshi Municipality, Muwsa, offers its services to 21 wards in Moshi rural areas including Majengo, Msaranga, Kiboriloni, Pasua, Njoro, Kaloleni, Mawenzi, Bondeni, Kiusa, Kilimanjaro, Rau, Mji Mpya, Korongoni, Karanga, Longuo B, Shiri Matunda, Nganga Mfumuni, Miembeni, Bomambuzi, Soweto, Ng’ambo and Mwereni.
They are run and managed by board of trustees, tapped from chairpersons of village water boards and have been able to supply water to more than 80 per cent of villagers.
There is a success story from Siha district, as its Executive Director, Rashid Kitambulio says water supply services in this district are entrusted to citizens.
To that end, they formed two water boards to manage supply of the commodity and have successfully done that to more than 80 per cent of all 116,313 residents. Sauwasa Acting Manager, Matei Aloisi says available water sources are one spring and four boreholes.
Water is pumped to four wells from where gravitation force is applied to take it to users. There is a bad experience of water loss through leakages (20%) due to worn out pipes and water theft by 25%.
Sauwasa has 1,298 customers and 42 water kiosks for the public in four zones – Bomani, Mji Mpya, Mjini Kati and Mahuu. Mwanga district on its part has three sources of water; Chang’ombe and Mbochiro springs and five boreholes.
Mr Stephen Stephen, a manager with Mwanga Urban Water Authority says water quantity kept falling over years due to climate change and now they mostly rely on boreholes to serve its 7,061 customers out of 16,100 residents.
However, the production and consequent supply of 1,532 cubic meters a day falls short of the 3,000 cubic meters per day demand.
Mr Stephen says they plan to tap more water from all the sources, as only two boreholes were active and that caused water rationing, whereby customers get water for three hours only a day.
Rombo is another district within Kilimanjaro region and its water production and supply is under Kiliwater and Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (RWSSP).
Engineer A.S Tesha, Rombo Water Engineer, says daily water demand stands at 40,000 cubic meters against supply of 27,000 cubic meters during rainy seasons and 18,000 during summer.
Mr Tesha says with 260,000 residents Rombo has 30 water sources, 29 of which are gravitational and only one is a borehole. Kiliwater General Manager, Prosper Tesha says Kiliwater caters for more than 300,000 customers in 78 villages Rombo district and Mwika in Moshi district.
The company was established after the water project for Kilimanjaro East came to an end in 1994 that was run by a German aid corporation, GTZ.
The company got financial assistance, to the tune of Tsh 14 billion from the central government (Tanzania) and a German bank, KfW from 2001 to 2008 to repair the East Kilimanjaro Trunk Main I & II and construction of a third main water pipe, EKTM III and the main water source at Kwavameku in Mashati division.
Mr Kessy noted that the company was used to collect about Tsh 3 million a month in 1995, but as of now it gets an average of Tsh 65 million monthly from customer collections.
Moshi, as it is the case with many regional headquarters, has urban and its rural counterpart, managed by one district authority. In Moshi Rural, there are now in place a water project for 10 villages, namely Korini Juu and Korini Chini in Mbokomu ward; Kirima Juu, Kirima Kati and Boro in Kirima ward.
Others are Tella and Mande in Old Moshi ward; Makamu Juu and Makamu Chini in Kilema Kaskazini ward; Mawanjeni and Maji Makami in Mwika Kusini as well as Makuyuni in Makuyuni ward.
Engineer B.J. Lyimo, Moshi Water Engineer says feasibility study was done on the projects from May 2009 to February 2010 and are set to be completed this year and others next year.