A shortage of safe and clean water is among one of the major challenges facing residents of Dar es Salaam. Most of the people in the city compared to other cities in the country have no access to safe and clean water forcing them to walk for a long distances to search for it. Sometimes they are left with no other choice other than to buy water for a very high price from street vendors.
One of the areas in the city that is most affected by the shortage is Makuburi ward, located at Ubungo, Kinondoni district. The record shows that the Makuburi ward has a total number of 156,900 residents while the number of those who have access to clean water is only 66,000, making the percentage of 42. Residents of this area are forced to use unclean water from digging wells or from street vendors that sell water, and as a result they put their health and ultimately their lives in danger.
DAWASCO (Dar es Salaam Water Supply Cooperation), the institutional body responsible for the clean water supply in the city and the major pipeline which supplies the water, is also located in Ubungo.
During an interview conducted in the ward office, Makuburi Ward Chancellor, Mr Joseph Cherahani agrees that it is true that his ward does not have enough access to clean and safe water despite their close location with DAWASCO offices and the major pipeline.
“When you look at our records, only 42% of the people have access to clean and safe water from DAWASCO while the rest depend on digging wells and from the vendors that sell from cars,” he says.
When asked why the problem exists while DAWASCO and the major pipeline are located there, Mr. Cherahani said that the problem only grew to be so big as a result of the increasing population while the infrastructure remained the same. He says, “at the beginning, the problem was not as it is now because the population in the area was at a low density but after the increase of people’s number and since there is no improvement of the infrastructure, that is why the problem grows big.”
Mr. Cherahani added that his office works hand-in-hand with the people of DAWASCO to see how they can solve this problem that brings so much trouble to the residents of his ward, “’I argue people to come down as now I work with people from DAWASCO to solve this problem and make it a history in our place” he says.
On the other hand, when DAWASCO communication officer Mr. Noel Kwayu was asked to why the ward lacked clean and safe water while the major pipeline is located there, Mr. Kwayu said that it is because the ward is also located at the top of the hill hence making it difficult for water to reach there. When asked what DAWASCO was doing to solve the problem, Mr. Kwayu said that since the place is one of the areas which is targeted by the new project of supplying safe and clean water, which is financed by the Chinese government, he has been well assured that the problem will soon end and become history not only to the people of Makuburi but to the whole of Dar es Salaam residents.
“Once we finish the new project which intends to supply safe and clean water in the city the problem will come to an end since Makuburi is one of the places that is targeted by the project,” he says. Mr. Kwayu also urges the residents to report those who steal and destroy DAWASCO infrastructure and property because they are then also part of the water shortage problem in various places.
On the other side, Ms. Mwajuma Hamis, who is a resident of Makuburi argues that the problem has been there for long time but there has been no effort which has been taken to solve the problem and the only people who are most affected is women since they are the ones who remain at home and take care of the activities in home. She says, “we are the ones who take care of whole activities at home and most of them depend on water hence making it difficult for us to perform our activities since we sometimes loose most of our time searching for water.”
Another resident of Makuburi, Mr. Mwambije Evance, complains that the shortage of water in the area has also resulted in the increase of daily expenses, since the little water which is sold by the selling cars is sold at such a high price. He explains, “we buy one bucket for seven hundreds, now you can imagine how much a person with a big family can spend for only buying water.” When asked what he thinks should be done to overcome the problem, Mr. Mwambije says that he wonders why the problem is there in the first place while the major pipeline to supply water in the city is also there.
The supply of clean and safe water is still a big challenge to DAWASCO, as the city of Dar es Salaam is growing at a high speed, which is only going to increase the challenges that DAWASCO faces in fulfilling it’s duties to citizens.
Dominic was an active member of the anti-corruption club and holds a certificate of recognition by the PCCB (Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau), an institution that fights to prevent and combat corruption in Tanzania. His goal for the future is to become a journalist who is able to serve the voiceless and create societal change.
Juma is a former football analyst at Radio SAUT FM in Mwanza, St. Augustine’s on-campus student-run radio station. His goal for the future is to become an activist in the fight against racism in Tanzania.