Monday, August 10, 2009

Meeting Clean Water Needs in Dar es Salaam

Dar es Salaam faces many of the same development challenges as cities throughout Africa. Finding enough water is difficult since the city lacks sufficient infrastructure to continuously pump water to a city of 3 million. Most residents have to pay for water at a rate of 250 Tanzania shillings per 20-liter container. While this amounts to only 18 cents in the U.S., it represents a significant proportion of income for the majority of the population who live on less than $40 a month. Many people are forced to dig shallow wells for water, but these are unsanitary and lead to health problems.

The population growth has recently made the situation worse. While there are two water supply plants on the rivers that flow into the Indian Ocean, they can only output around 100,000 cubic meters each day. A city this large would require around 450,000 cubic meters of water per day.

Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA) has plans to increase supply by developing underground aquifers and expanding the river treatment plants. Nelly Msuya, a DAWASA spokesperson, explains, "It is true that there is a great challenge in the provision of water services in the city through our infrastructure." Nevertheless, DAWASA is committed to improving access to clean water in Tanzania. Call your senators and ask them to cosponsor the Water for the World Act to help people access clean water throughout the world.
--Jessica Milstead