Fair Water Futures - Uhakika wa Maji
Welcome to the Fair Water Futures Project webpage. You will find background information about the need for the work, our partners and how to participate in and benefit from the project.
You will also find project documentation and regular updates for download.
Case Study Bulletins:
What is Fair Water Futures?
Fair Water Futures is a new two and a half year project to support equitable and effective water resource management (WRM) in Tanzania. Funded by UK Aid’s Global Poverty Action Fund the project attempts an innovative approach of using social accountability and citizen agency to increase demand for good water resource governance, and to guide and drive better performance for the benefit of everyone in Tanzania.
Fair Water Futures, known as Uhakika wa Maji in Swahili, will work with vulnerable communities, helping them to secure access to and protect the water resources they need to escape poverty and build a resilient economy. The work will help to ensure that water in streams, rivers, springs, aquifers and lakes is available in the quality and quantities required for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, food production, and livelihoods based on farming, fishing, and small scale industry. It will do this by activating legal protection for this water, via water use permits, pollution control, statutory drought and flood management and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) certification.
Co-managed by the Tanzanian NGO, Shahidi wa Maji, and Water Witness International, the project is based on participatory research between 2005 and 2010 of how to implement the Tanzanian National Water Policy (NAWAPO, 2002) towards improved WRM performance. The project partners include: the Ministry of Water; National Environment Management Council (NEMC), Tanzanian Water and Sanitation Network (Tawasanet), the African Network on Water and Sanitation (ANEW), and the Freshwater Action Network (FAN).
Why is Fair Water Futures needed and who will it benefit?
People, businesses, and ecosystems across Tanzania need good quality and reliable supplies of water in order to thrive. This depends on water resources being well managed, balancing the needs of all users, avoiding or resolving conflict, and preventing degradation and depletion of water resources. Efforts to implement the Environmental Management Act 2004, the Water Resource Management Act 2009, the Water Sector Development Programme are starting to make progress towards this. However, the job of water resource management is extremely challenging and is made even harder by an increasingly unpredictable climate. The relatively young institutions responsible therefore need widespread support and strong incentives to deliver. Without this support, economic growth is likely to be based on unsustainable resource use, sparking conflicts, destroying important ecosystems and making many people poorer.
Support for government policy and institutions
Basin Water Boards with members drawn from key stakeholder groups in each of Tanzania’s nine river basins are responsible for WRM. They direct and oversee the work of the Basin Water Offices, who, in line with government policy, and following an assessment of water needs, availability and sustainability, grant users the right to abstract water. Water Use Permits set out conditions of water resource use. These are monitored and where necessary enforced, so that water use is coordinated and sustainable. They are also responsible for controlling pollution through wastewater discharge licenses. Drawing on data from a national network of hydro-meteorological monitoring stations, they also work with others to plan for and manage droughts and floods. Sometimes aspects of this work are delegated to Water User Associations. NEMC also play a crucial role, being ultimately responsible for all aspects of environmental management in Tanzania. By reviewing and setting conditions for sustainable development through Environmental Impact Assessment certification they influence how water resources are used.
This system for WRM in Tanzania reflects international good practice and in many ways is a very progressive model. However, higher levels of public understanding about how the system works and greater awareness by water users of their rights and obligations will be a major boost for implementation. Fair Water Futures will assist in this. At a strategic level, it will demonstrate the value of investing in WRM for economic growth, poverty reduction and gender equity, and will highlight the importance of adequate authority and financial support for the responsible institutions. Also, by working with communities to help them access and benefit from the system, the project will track and document how it is performing. It will provide valuable insights for how implementation can be more efficient and effective, to assist the Basins and NEMC to play their central role in the nation’s sustainable development.
Support for vulnerable communities
At a local level, all water users: farmers, pastoralists, fisher folk, community water supply organisations (COWSOs), artisans, small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs), industries, investors, municipal authorities, and sectoral ministries have important rights and obligations relating to WRM. As to be expected for a relatively new system, awareness of these and of how to access responsible government authorities to enact them is low. Fair Water Futures will build this understanding, and will assist vulnerable communities to gain legal entitlement and protection for water resources. It will also encourage users to obtain and pay for Water Use Permits so that their needs are recognized and therefore better protected in the future. The project will help communities to monitor and activate pollution control, drought and flood management and EIA so that they work to reduce poverty and build the resilience of vulnerable communities.
Improving aid effectiveness, value for money and impact
Donors, NGOs and development partners are increasingly investing in improved WRM in recognition of its key role in poverty reduction, growth and climate resilience. By working with the ultimate beneficiaries of aid to track performance, identify and take up opportunities for efficient, effective and equitable sector performance, Fair Water Futures will play a role in improving the impact of this aid.
East Africa leading the way to provide international learning and guidance
Fair Water Futures will help Tanzanian stakeholders share their knowledge about WRM internationally and will document lessons about how greater social accountability and citizen agency can drive better performance. Through this innovative work Tanzania becomes a pioneer – charting pathways towards a fairer water future for everyone.
How will the work be delivered?
Fair Water Futures will deliver through six phases of activity:
1. Inception – establishing project logistics, project team, systems and detailed planning.
2. Water security audits – desk and field-based assessment of water resource contexts, priorities and risks, and identification and recruitment of community cohorts.
3. Community activation of WRM – working with water users towards statutory recognition and protection of their water resource needs.
- Popularized versions of water laws and policies which together with media and public outreach will improve understanding of rights, responsibilities and duties relating to water.
- Improving public understanding of and access to responsible authorities.
- Sensitizing communities, SMEs and wider private and public sector water users on the need for legal entitlement and protection of water resources, and the value of use permits, pollution control, EIA, and user fees.
- Direct help to over quarter of a million vulnerable water users to obtain legal protection for the water resources they need to escape poverty and build a resilient economy. This work will prioritize water entitlements for women.
4. WRM expenditure tracking and performance survey – systematic exploration of how funding flows through the sector and how this relates to front-line, operational performance.
- Leading a public expenditure tracking survey (PETS) in the water resource management sector to guide improved delivery, accountability, value for money and governance.
5. Constructive advocacy – participatory synthesis of project findings and generating targeted advocacy for improved WRM in Tanzania.
6. Evaluation and outreach – independent reflection on the effectiveness of the project, its results and lessons. Communication of insights, tools and good practice to an international audience for scaling up.
This figure illustrates the project’s ‘theory of change’:
Who will be doing the work and when will it take place?
To maximise ownership, accountability, learning and communication a Project Steering Committee of project partners and key stakeholders is being established.
The Project Manager will work closely with a Core Team of individuals from partner organisations who will input on a part-time basis (Tawasanet members, NEMC, MoW).
The project will be supported by expert inputs and advice from the Freshwater Action Network (advocacy) and ANEW (communications and outreach).