CONSTRUCTION of Kidunda Dam in Morogoro Region with the aim of improving water supply to the city of Dar es Salaam and parts of Coast Region is a positive move, given the high demand of the precious liquid.
According to environmental experts, there will be no impact on the ecosystem in the Selous Game Reserve whatsoever. According to the various studies that have been conducted, Kidunda dam will not affect villages or farming areas as it has been claimed by some environmental activists. Studies show that dams are important water resource management system.
In many places water is regulated by and stored in dams for various purposes but more importantly to maintain a reliable water supply. The major source of water for Dar es Salaam is Ruvu River.
There is always shortage of water when the level of the river is low, especially during the dry season. Thus construction of Kidunda dam and supply of water to Dar es Salaam is inevitable. According to available statistics, only 68 per cent of Dar es Salaam, Bagamoyo and Kibaha residents access clean and safe water. Dar es Salaam alone needs at least 400 million litres of water per day.
So far Lower Ruvu water supply system is capable of pumping at least 390 million litres of water while upper Ruvu is able to produce 196 million litres of water per day for the city and parts of Coast Region.
The Kidunda Dam project is set to regulate the flow and improve reliability of the main water supply source of Dar es Salaam, the largest city with a population of over 4 million people. Based on the hydrology and geomorphology of the Ruvu River, the Kidunda area has been identified as a suitable location for the dam.
It took two years (from 2010 to 2012) for the designing work of the dam that would also generate and add 20 MW of power into the national grid. The designing considered all environmental issues, and thus the project appeared to be suitable and the major solution for water woes in the city.
The dam location was identified based on engineering and economic criteria for dam construction and operations.
The Wami-Ruvu Basin Water Officer, Praxeda Kalugendo, said that there is no connection between the proposed dam and the destruction of flora and fauna in the Rufiji River.
She said environmental and social impact assessment was done to determine the possibilities of environmental impact of the proposed dam. Recently the Minister for Water and Irrigation, Engineer Gerson Lwenge, confirmed that various studies had proved that the project would not affect the ecosystem in Selous Game Reserve or cause any environmental impacts.
He said a Social and Environmental Impact Assessment was conducted and the said negative impacts were scrutinized. Eng. Lwenge revealed further that detailed designing for the ambitious project has been completed and the government was now looking for funds to implement the scheme.
“A Social and Environment Impact Assessment was conducted and the said negative impacts were put into consideration,” the minister told the ‘Daily News’ recently.
He added: “As you know residents around the dam have already been compensated to pave the way for construction of the facility which will act as a crucial water resource for people in Dar es Salaam.
” In June, 2014, Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (Dawasa) signed the 200m/- US dollar memorandum of understanding with China National Aero Technology International Corporation for the latter to finance the multipurpose Kidunda dam. Minister Lwenge said recently that the government is continuing to look for extra fund to execute the multibillion project. For decades, Dar es Salaam residents have been experiencing challenges of getting reliable, safe and clean water.
The government has been doing its best to solve the problem but still the challenges emerge from time to time. Dar es Salaam city is among the fastest growing cities in the Southern Sahara, therefore water demand has been increasing from time time due to the population growth in the city.
Following such challenges, the construction of Kidunda dam in Morogoro Region becomes one of the major solutions to the problem. Under this circumstance, Dar es Salaam needs enough water for its people.
Also, being the country’s business hub, the city is a home to thousands of industries, big hotels and many other investments, which depend much on reliable water supply for them to survive.
Thus, the high increase of water needs, forces Dar es Salaam city to call for a scheme to build a dam to store water to meet future water necessities for the ever expanding city and its precincts. Speaking to the ‘Daily News’, some of Dar es Salaam residents expressed their expectations upon the completion of Kidunda dam saying it will help to end water challenges in the city.
Mr Dickson Mtweve said he buys a 20 litres bucket of water at between 300/- and 400/- from water vendors. He said his family uses a minimum of 120 litres of water per day and that he is forced to spend more than 2,400/- on buying water every day.
According to Mr Mtweve, there is no guarantee that the water he buys from vendors is clean and safe for human being consumption. “With Kidunda project, I think it is high time we stop drinking water from unsafe sources,” he said.
Ms Mwanaisha Ibrahim, a food vendor at Ubungo bus stand, said shortage of water has been affecting her business. She said the completion of Kidunda project will surely increase the supply of water in the city and thus boost her businesses. “We have been experiencing shortage of water in this city, the shortage really affects our business as we are forced to buy it from vendors at high price,” she said. According to WaterAid statistics, it is estimated that 23 million people in Tanzania do not have access to safe water
. Typically, women and children spend over two hours a day collecting water, and up to seven hours in remote areas. Presenting budget estimates for his ministry in Dodoma midlast year, Eng. Lwenge outlined grand water and sanitation plan aimed at ending the chronic water problem and improve sanitation in the country.
The minister asked the august House to approve 915bn/- to implement development projects in the water sector during the fiscal year 2016/2017.
Eng. Lwenge informed the House that construction of Kidunda dam was among efforts by the government to solve water woes facing Dar es Salaam which has a population of about five million people.
The Kidunda dam, Kimbiji and Mpera boreholes in Kigamboni, are being considered as new sources of water for Dar es Salaam and some parts of Coast Region to boost supply from Ruvu River which currently provides the precious liquid.
According to DAWASA authorities, over four million people will benefit from a drought buffer protection, as well as other downstream human, economic and industrial uses. Another advantage of the proposed dam is to regulate the Ruvu River flow, preventing unwanted flooding and to store a basic reserve for the dry season.
DAWASA report says the reservoir will cover an area of 55 square kilometres with a storage capacity of 190 million cubic metres designed to cater for water needs of Dar es Salaam and surroundings for at least the next 30 years without any eventual intervention of dredging.
According to the report, the Kidunda dam project will develop sustainable economic strategies such as fishery implementation and eco-tourism among others. It will also improve the livelihood conditions of the resettled people through roads, health centres, schools and other basic facilities and using the same flow.
The report says stakeholders were identified and contacted during the entire project development. Consultations started from decision making authorities who include government authorities and agencies with mandate for water supply management and development to those with related responsibilities within the Kidunda dam development area including Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, the Morogoro Regional and District authorities.
Other institutions and individuals with specialized expertise relevant to the project include Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), WWF and GTZ. Professor Mtalo said the dam will also serve the proposed Bagamoyo port and its EPZ saying, “these two big projects in Bagamoyo will properly function with the supply of water from the Kidunda dam.
“Putting in place of early warning system in the dam will make it possible for any eventualities such as when the reservoir has over-flooded and that its spillway has ceased to function.
On the impact of tourism, a report of the experts says that after completion of the project, positive indirect and cumulative effect will be triggered by the new source of energy by the rural line diverted in the area and the facilities for hosting the tourism boosted from the new Selous Game Reserve.
Recreation activities such as boating and sailing sports, fishing, bird-watching and photographic safaris. The mitigation measures done on the dam has impressed UNESCO so far, according to Professor Mtalo.