The cleanest town in East Africa
Delivering clean, safe and affordable water to more than 95% of its residents, and pioneering Water Safety Plans (WSP) in Tanzania, Moshi stands out in a country that for decades has struggled to improve its water management. Moshi has also repeatedly won the title as the cleanest municipality in Tanzania. In 2015 it participated in WWF’s city challenge with its Tanzanian counterparts Arusha and Dar es Salaam. Moshi is a medium-sized town with around 200,000 citizens, located on the southern slopes of Kilimanjaro. The city’s location provides it with more fresh running water than most Tanzanian cities, but also increases flood risks during the rainy season, an environmental hazard exacerbated by deforestation.



Autonomous water management

After a long deterioration of the water service, the Moshi Water Supply Rehabilitation Project was launched in 1995 as a part of a wider Tanzanian pilot program with German support to test a model of semi-autonomous, commercially viable urban water utilities. In 1998, the Moshi Urban Water and Sewerage Authority (MUWSA), was established as one of the first autonomous "Urban Water and Sewerage Authorities" (UWSAs) when Tanzania started to decentralize its water management system in the late 1990s. MUWSA is a fully autonomous but government owned organization with tariff-setting powers responsible for provision of clean and safe water, and collection and disposal of wastewater. It is supervised by a board appointed by the Tanzanian government but also nominated by local authorities and stakeholder groups. MUWSA operates as a commercially run organization that works closely to its consumers.

Since MUWSA was formed, it has transformed an aged infrastructure with a low number of household connections and frequent interruptions to a system that delivers clean, safe and affordable water to more than 95% of its residents, almost 24 hours a day. It has improved its efficiency, reduced water leakage, increased the number of paying customers, and as a result improved its economy. MUWSA has also built a sewerage network serving around 30% of the population, far higher than other Tanzanian cities. The remaining population uses onsite sanitation - pit latrines and septic tank systems.

Tanzania's water programs

The success of MUWSA and the other early UWSAs (in Arusha and Tanga) encouraged the Tanzanian government to use the model for all regional capitals and as a further step, in smaller district towns as well. But despite ambitious and equitable plans, and generous funding from donors including the African Development Bank, the European Commission, Germany, the Netherlands and the World Bank, the Tanzanian water program has had mixed success, with many setbacks.

While bringing access to an improved water source to nearly 10 million more people in rural areas in the first decade, the share of Tanzanians with access to an improved water source has not decreased proportionally at the same rate due to population increase, according to World Bank figures. The next phase of the program is now starting, with new accountability measures and the goals of a 95% urban and 65% rural coverage.

Solid waste management

Moshi is also sometimes called the cleanest town in East Africa, repeatedly winning the title as the cleanest municipality in Tanzania. The city fines littering, and solid waste management was introduced as a mandatory service already in the 1950s. Since 1999 it has a stakeholder platform for its waste management system, comprised of the municipality, a private contractor and community based organizations. It collects around 60% of waste, while 20% is composted. Moshi has started to work with projects to use waste as a resource. One example is the Mabogini Irrigation Project that uses refined sewage. Another is biogas production from bio-latrines, cow-sheds and piggeries, replacing firewood as cooking fuel in a school. And Moshi has started developing waste to energy projects such as a recycling and biogas plant, as well as other renewable energy projects.

The slopes of Kilimanjaro

Moshi has also been successful in recent years in protecting its most important natural resource forests on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. In 2012 it adopted a stakeholders' proposal, limiting permits to cut trees and transport forest products even from privately owned land. And over the last years the regional authorities have planted more than 10 million trees to restore the damaged environment.

Want to know more about Urban solutions?

Contact Barbara Evaeus
Global Communications Manager,
WWF One Planet City Challenge
+46 70 393 9030





Moshi Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Authority, Case Study on Water Safety Plans Implementation, Benefits and Challenges, 2012, http://www.esi-africa.com/wp-content/uploads/Issa_Osena-Patrick_Kibasa.pdf

German development cooperation in Tanzania, Water for Life  Lessons learnt from 15 years of German Development Cooperation in the Kilimanjaro Region, 2007, https://www.kfw-entwicklungsbank.de/migration/Entwicklungsbank-Startseite/Development-Finance/About-Us/Local-Offices/Sub-Saharan-Africa/Office-Tanzania/Activities-in-Tanzania/Lessons-learnt-in-15-years-of-German-Development-Cooperation.pdf

AllAfrica, Tanzania: Moshi Water Board Embarks On Expansion Programme, 24 March 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201403240141.html

Global Post, The World Bank's water failure in Tanzania, November 20 2014, http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/141121/world-bank-tanzania-water-failure

The World Bank, How Tanzania Plans To Achieve "Big Results Now" in Education, July 14 2014, http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/feature/2014/07/10/how-tanzania-plans-to-achieve-big-reforms-now-in-education

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Text by: Martin Jacobson
Last edited: 2017-03-15