Water Users Association as are frontline soldiers for water security and equity
To assure there is water security and equal sharing of this important resource, WWF Tanzania through its Freshwater programme together with GIZ Tanzania in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MoWI) initiated a two days’ workshop to facilitate the Water Users Associations (WUA) learning exchange workshop aiming at learning the best practices in improving WUAs performance on maintaining and protecting water sources.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the workshop, Mrs. Praxeda Paul Kalugendo, Acting Assistant Director of Water Resources (Protection and Environment), said The ministry knows the importance of proper management of water resources (catchment and sub catchment areas) and is strongly supporting the works of WUAs.
She said the government is working very closely with all water stakeholders which has led in the water reforms and resulted into the National Water Policy 2002 (NAWAPO), the National Water Sector Development Strategy (WSDS) 2006-2015, the Water Resources Management Act No. 11, 2009 and the Water Supply and Sanitation Act No.12 of 2009 and the new institutional framework which put the participation of water users at the forefront in the management of the water resources. "It is expected that effective participation of water users will enhance accountability and decision making closer to the people and ensure that planning, priority setting and service delivery are responsive to the local needs."she said.
Increased environmental degradation and pollution of water sources is projected to reduce water availability escalating the already existing conflicts between sectors and different users such as hydropower and irrigators, pastoralists and irrigators, agriculture and the environment and between sectors themselves. In these circumstances Water Users Associations (WUAs) become critical water management institutions. In the interest of implementing the policy even prior to the enactment of the Water Resources Management Act, some Water Users Associations (WUAs) have been formed in the nine water basins across Tanzania. The process has been facilitated by Basin Water Boards, NGOs and other actors, adopting different approaches which have sometimes not been compatible with each other in terms of the approaches and the messages sent to the communities.
WWF's Freshwater Programme Coordinator, Mr. Christian Chonya, said the meeting aimed at having an open discussion on the issues related to improving performance of WUAs. He said WWF is ready to work with the government and other stakeholders to tackle the different challenges that are facing the water sector in the country and support the work that the WUAs have been doing. He said moreover WWF in collaboration with other developing partners will support the ministry of water and irrigation to review the WUAs formation guidelines and develop the Operation guidelines.
WWF has been working closely with Water Users Association in Both the Rufiji and Mara River Basins through its Freshwater Programme