Tag Archives: water supply

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

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:

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.

Continue reading

Tanzania’s ongoing water sector mess

Twaweza has a new policy brief out*, on a subject that’s close to my heart: water supply in Tanzania. Money flows, water trickles is the title, and it’s hard to argue with that. A lot of money has been spent, with worryingly very little to show for it.

Over the 10 year period of 1995-2005, Tanzania received USD $57 per beneficiary in aid flows earmarked for rural water supply, but coverage fell by 1%. Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda all received considerably less aid per beneficiary, but managed to improve their coverage significantly. Continue reading

The world is doing well on water supply, but leaving Tanzania behind

The world is doing well on water supply, but leaving Tanzania behind

Globally, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for water supply has been met. A new report from UN Water, UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, launched this week, reported that 89% of the world’s population now has access to water from an improved source. This has quite rightly been a cause for celebration and media coverage (see here and here from the (UK) Guardian, and from the BBC), a rare good news story.

But here in Tanzania, we can’t share in the celebrations. Continue reading

Rural water supply in Tanzania since independence, and for the next 50 years

Rural water supply in Tanzania since independence, and for the next 50 years

It is, quite rightly, the season for raising our eyes and looking up at the horizon. December 9th, 2011 will mark 50 years since the British flag came down on Tanganyika and the country’s life as an independent nation began. So what better time to think a little further than the hot political issue of the day (which is usually forgotten within a week or two) or even most NGOs’ furthest horizon – the 5 year strategic plan?

There are plenty of others who are better placed to assess Tanzania’s past achievements and future prospects in political or economic terms, so I won’t trespass on their terrain. But I can say something about rural water supply. In particular, I have identified two themes of change in the sector – covering the past 50 years and the next – that I think may be of interest. Continue reading

The politics of water supply are coming to the boil

This blog has long argued that the major challenges in the water sector are more political than technical. We have also highlighted the fact that the political nature of the challenges has not been matched by political attention. Water supply was largely ignored in the 2010 election campaigns, for example, not featuring in the major campaign promises of any of the big three parties’ presidential candidates nor gaining much attention in election media coverage (here and here).

Now, four separate developments in the past few weeks point to a change in the politics of water supply in Tanzania. So what are the new developments, and what is the change that they point to? Continue reading