WB report stresses better use of water resources

17Dec 2017
Crispin Gerald
Guardian On Sunday
WB report stresses better use of water resources

A WORLD Bank (WB) report has underlined the need for the government and stakeholders to properly manage water resources and its use amid recent changes in the climate that hampers the availability of water in future.


Titled ‘WBG Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management Global Practice, Africa Region 2017, Tanzania Economic Update Managing Water Wisely,’ the report insisted the need for the government to ensure stronger coordination across sectors and better prioritization of investments since water is finite, so its use must be controlled.  

Bella Bird Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somalia said the report emphasized on more investment in the collection of data related to water resources and usage, including the use of technology.

Tanzania per capital water resources have declined to the extent that it has crossed the threshold that defines water-stressed countries.

It emphasized that Tanzania needs to value and price water appropriately to incentivize its sustainable use, while also recognizing its social and environmental value.

This means setting prices that reflect water’s growing scarcity, creating disincentives for wasting water and recognizing its differing values to farmers, municipalities and industrialists.

Due to the finite nature of water resources, decisions regarding their use cannot be made in one area or sector without considering the trade-offs with other sectors. These needed to be clarity regarding the mandates of relevant ministries and governmental bodies.

Tanzania needs to optimally use its existing resources, including its diverse and growing private sector and its rich natural resources, if it is to achieve its ambitious development goal of becoming a semi-industrial, middle income nation.

Tanzania’s national demand for water and available supply stands at 150 per cent. The situation is compounded by droughts, floods and degraded water quality, all of which are already having significant impacts on the economy.

Droughts and floods have a major economic impact on Tanzania, with the extent of this damage likely to increase with ongoing climate change.

Agricultural sector suffers an estimated US$ 200million in average annual losses because of weather-related incidents, particularly from drought.

The report recommends that sufficient resources should be invested in data collection and analysis to better enable water management bodies to make sound decisions, at present data on water quality and groundwater is very limited.

“But also Tanzania need to value and price water in ways that reflects its increasing scarcity and that recognize its differing values to all users, including households, farmers and industries,” the report recommended.