Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Advanced technology cut-down water conflicts in Pangani Basin

PANGANI Basin Water Board officials collect water samples to test for salinity levels

THE introduction of high tech equipment for monitoring and modeling water resources in Pangani Basin has helped to reduce conflicts related to water allocation and improved the management of the resource.

This was revealed in Dar es Salaam yesterday by a local Consultant with Pangani Basin, Mr Hosea Sanga, at the ongoing exhibitions to mark the 6th Africa Water Week which commenced on Monday.
He said that through the use of smart stick, Pangani Basin has managed to get reliable data on water which are crucial for planning and management of water, but also reduced conflicts related to water allocation.

Mr Sanga further said that the data are also useful in helping the communities to resolve water allocation conflicts during river committee and water user association meetings.

“The Ministry of water and Irrigation in Pangani Basin needs data in order to make decisions because it is responsible for allocating water to farmers, but also the data is crucial in decision making and planning,” Mr Sanga noted.

He added that the technology has helped farmers to have modern way of knowing what level of water they have to allocate to their respective farms. Expounding, he said the use of the high tech equipment is being promoted through the Innovation in Monitoring, Modeling and Managing Water project being implemented in Pangani Basin. 

Thanks to technology, farmers are able to know the amount of water needed 
He said the project is being implemented through the Ministry of Water and Irrigation in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

“Currently, the project has designed and developed a smart stick for measuring water levels in the furrows ... the smart stick is used by communities for managing allocation of water at the farm level. 

Mr Sanga noted that before the introduction of the smart stick, farmers were using normal stick with some markers during allocation of water but the new technology has helped to know what level of water they have and can allocate to their respective farms.

Acting Basin Water Officer for Pangani Basin Water Board, Mr Philipo Patrick, said that the basin is facing water scarcity due to unprecedented pressure from population growth and highly irregular rains. He said more than 50 per cent of the area is semi-arid or arid receiving less than 600mm per year.

Mr Patrick said sometime the water allocation is done on rationing to ensure that it satisfy the demand. Patrick said that Pangani basin has a number of water disputes due to water scarcity, thus the allocation of the precious liquid normally based on the Water Allocation Policy which provide priority to water for domestic and environment use.

Chairman for Upper Kikuletwa Water User Association Tito KitomarI said that with a range of stakeholders, the Imomo Initiative has been working in the Thermi River for helping communities to make better water decision through greater transparency about allocation activities and on water availability in different parts of the catchment.

He said that currently reported water disputes have dropped from 30 per year to one or none.


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