Category Archives: water

Chart #35 – How much do public institutions owe the Dar water utility, Dawasco?

The Guardian, 8/2/15, via

The Guardian, 8/2/15, via

A quick, simple chart this time. An article on the front page of Sunday’s Guardian newspaper reported on the amounts owed by various government institutions to Dawasco, the troubled public water supply utility serving Dar es Salaam.

It’s an issue that’s been talked about for a long time – at least as long as I’ve been following Tanzania’s water sector (since 2006). But it’s usually been dealt with behind the scenes, and rarely had numbers attached to particular institutions.

So what do the numbers say?

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Chart of the week #34: Giving birth without safe water and sanitation

Let’s start with some headline statistics:

  • 43% of births in Tanzania take place at home
  • Of these, only 1.5% take place in settings with access to safe water and sanitation
  • Only 44% of health facilities that conduct deliveries have provision of safe water and sanitation facilities

And putting that all together:

  • Only 30% of births in Tanzania take place in an environment that includes access to safe water and sanitation.

These findings come from an analysis of data from the 2010 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and the 2006 Service Provision Assessment, by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the World Health Organisation and Bugando Hospital.

Access to safe water and sanitation facilities seems like such a fundamental part of giving birth, wherever it happens. That only 30% of mothers in Tanzania have such access is pretty shocking.

But the researchers went further, to look at how access to a safe water and sanitation environment when giving birth varied across the country, and between richer and poorer Tanzanians. It turns out that the headline figures cover up some major differences.

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DFID turns to “Payment by Results” for rural water supply in Tanzania

Turning money into water has always been the goal of water sector donors. They have money, and they want to use it to improve access to clean and safe water. Sounds simple enough.

But as my colleagues at Twaweza found in a recent policy brief, not much progress has been made on rural water supply in Tanzania, despite a massive increase in spending in the sector. Money flowed, but water only trickled.

Turning money into water? (from WaterAid, around 10 years ago)

Turning money into water? (from WaterAid, around 10 years ago)

In truth, it’s far from easy. Getting the engineering right is only one part of the challenge – managing funds correctly, avoiding corruption, deciding which communities should be prioritised, and maintaining newly water constructed waterpoints all add to the difficulty. This blog has documented many of these challenges over the past few years, particularly the struggles of the $1bn Water Sector Development Programme.

So the folks at DFID have come up with a new approach, called Payment by Results, or PbR, which they are about to start applying to rural water supply in Tanzania. And they’re backing it with big money: £150m (Tshs 400bn/-) over 5 years. Continue reading

Chart of the week #14: Household access to improved water and sanitation by region, Tanzania 2012

Tanzania’s National Bureau of Statistics has just released a huge batch of data from the 2012 Census. I will dig into this over the coming weeks and months, but here are some charts to get started. The first shows household access to improved sources of drinking water by region, the second does the same for improved sanitation. Continue reading

Interactive – mapping water and sanitation access in Africa

My old colleagues at WaterAid have put together this interesting map of water and sanitation access across Africa. It shows trends in access to clean and safe water and improved sanitation by country.

Slide the year slider across below the map to see how access has changed since 1990. Or click on a country to see a simple chart showing progress since 1990, and what is needed to achieve universal access by 2030.

Click on Tanzania in particular, to see line on the chart going downwards – access to clean and safe water in Tanzania has declined since 1990.

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Further reading:

Two opportunities for data lovers in Tanzania

The excellent School of Data, part of the Open Knowledge Foundation, have two great opportunities for Tanzanian data lovers.

First up, a Data Expedition focussed on water sector data, for anyone with an interest in data, or water, or both. The School of Data team will be helping people to play with water sector data, and to see what interesting stories they can find within it.

It on Friday June 6, from 9:30am to 16:00, at TANZICT’s BUNI Hub, in the COSTECH / Sayansi Building (see map). You can register for free here.

More details on the School of Data site, and on the TANZICT site.

Second, an opportunity to become a School of Data Fellow. They are looking for ten data analysts/activists, including one from Tanzania, to join a six-month fellowship programme. Fellows are expected to spend at least five days per month on the programme, which includes training and other events.

From the School of Data website:

The School of Data fellowship programme aims to to recruit and train the next generation of data leaders and trainers to magnify the reach of our data literacy programme. The fellows will provide training and ongoing support to journalists, civil society organisations, and individual change makers to use data effectively within their community and country.

More details are available here, and you can apply here. But if you are interested, or if you know anyone who might be, you need to hurry as the deadline for applications is just a few days away: June 10, 2014.

When water doesn’t spout from money: the challenge of water provision in rural Tanzania

This blogpost was originally published on the Ideas for Africa blog, run by the International Growth Centre (IGC) of the London School of Economics and Oxford University. It is co-written with Ruth Carlitz of UCLA.

A few weeks ago, the Tanzanian NGO Twaweza released a research brief detailing the ongoing challenge of access to clean water in the country. The brief showed that just over half of all Tanzanians (54%) obtain their drinking water from an ‘improved’ source; the figure for rural citizens is even lower at just 42%. These findings become even more striking when put in the context of recent investments. As shown in the figure below, Tanzania’s current level of access is similar to that of 20 years ago, despite a lot of money having been spent.

Figure 2 from “Money Flows, Water Trickles,” Sauti za Wananchi Brief No. 10.

Figure 2 from “Money Flows, Water Trickles,” Sauti za Wananchi Brief No. 10.

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