Tanzania: Ministry Forms Team to Study Clogged Waterways

THE Ministry for Water and Irrigation has formed a task force to study and suggest new technologies to help remove floating trash clogging dozens of irrigation dams and subsequently threatening livelihoods and the country’s economy.

The Minister for Water and Irrigation, Eng Isack Kamwelwe has told the National Assembly here that his office had commissioned a special team to study new technologies that could be applied to retrieve the decades-long built dams. Apparently, the minister admitted that construction of a number of dams had been delayed because of financial challenges. “Our team has also recommended that no new project should be undertaken without sufficient financial sources,” he said.

The minister says most of the projects were donor-funded, and that “the government couldn’t ask the donors for more project funds.” Mtama MP Mr Nape Nnauye (CCM) and Igunga MP Dalali Kafumu (CCM) were concerned that most of the dams built in the 1970s were now clogged, subsequently affecting farmers and residents who depend on them. In addition, the MPs said there were other incomplete dam projects demanding immediate government attention, and that any new projects be suspended.

“We had two irrigation dams at Igunga … now they are no longer operating,” said Dr Kafumu, asking the government to tell the House if there were any plans to build at least two new dams in the area. “… the old dams have been clogged with trash,” the minister admitted, but added that before any new ones were constructed, the team was assessing new technologies that could be used to clean up the mess. An opposition MP, Joseph Haule (Mikumi

, Chadema) also charged that the current heavy rains were causing consistent mayhem in Kidete area of Kilosa District due to failure of the old dam to accommodate rainwater. He said during FY 2017/18, the government announced it would allocate a budget to rehabilitate the dam; “… unfortunately, nothing has come to light … so when will this money be sent to Kilosa to help the villagers affected by floods.” In responce, the minister said his office had since commissioned a feasibility study to analyse the topography of the area before releasing more funds.

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