Water security and climate resilience in urban areas in Tanzania

Project description

Title: Water security and climate resilience in urban areas in Tanzania
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Tanzania
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Water and Irrigation (MoWI)
Overall term: 2019 to 2022


The average temperature in south-west Tanzania is expected to rise by 2.5 to 3 degrees by the end of this century. This will increase evaporation and the variability of precipitation. At the same time, the demand for water is growing quickly as a result of economic development, increasing agricultural production and population growth, especially in towns and cities.

The existing institutions do not yet use water resources efficiently. The water utilities have problems ensuring the supply of drinking water and sanitation services and extending these to the rapidly expanding poorer districts. The urban population increased by two thirds between 2002 and 2012. Seven out of ten inhabitants are currently undersupplied. Only a fraction of the poor population has access to safe drinking water. Less than 40 per cent of the urban population has access to secure sanitation services. More than 26,000 people die each year as a result of diarrhoeal diseases caused by contaminated water. The United Nations estimates the economic damage caused by a lack of sanitation services at around EUR 110,000,000 per year. At the same time, there is a shortage of skilled experts to tackle these challenges. Over the next few years, the country  faces a shortage of approximately 5,000 well-trained practitioners.

The Government’s current five-year development plan envisages increasing access to safe drinking water to more than 90 per cent by 2021. In the second phase of the National Sanitation and Hygiene Campaign, coverage of sanitation services is to be increased to 80 per cent by 2021. The water catchment management authorities are not in a position to ensure water security for the growing urban population and local economy. As a result of inadequate sanitation, extreme climate-related events and the associated risks, the country’s ecosystems and towns/cities are not sufficiently able to cope with external influences.


Water security and resilience to climate change have sustainably improved in urban areas.


The project focuses on water security in the two catchment areas of Nyasa and Rukwa and the secondary cities of Mbeya, Songea and Tunduma. It combines climate-resilient water management in the upper reaches of the water catchments with water supply security in towns and cities in the lower reaches. The project pursues an approach that takes all stages in the sanitation service delivery chain into account and supports public and private sector stakeholders in planning, regulation and service provision. It addresses the resulting new requirements for experts and their employability by further developing training formats.

The Ministry of Water and Irrigation’s training institute, which trains water technicians, gives women preferential access to its programmes provided they meet the formal requirements. This is helping to increase the currently very low proportion of female graduates and employees.

At individual level, the project is strengthening the competencies of experts from water catchment area authorities, municipal administrations, small and medium-sized enterprises and water utilities. In municipal administrations and water utilities, it is setting up cooperation platforms for planning climate-resilient water and sanitation services, creating a framework for faecal sludge management, and improving the system for monitoring the effects of climate change. It is promoting water resource management through cooperation in drawing up drinking water security strategies and plans of action, through dialogue and through technical advisory services.

The project is developing an interdisciplinary approach to water resource management and water security, aiming to benefit 500,000 people in the two water catchment areas of Rukwa and Lake Nyasa by 2022. This approach entails applying climate-sensitive procedures (for example using a climate checklist for water management plans). It also aims to provide 10,000 inhabitants on the outskirts of the three city centres of Mbeya, Songea and Tunduma in south-western Tanzania with improved access to secure sanitation that meets human rights standards. Moreover, the approach aims to enhance employability in water sector careers, improving the employment potential of 2,000 participants, 30 per cent of whom are women, through the use of revised curricula and more practice-based training modules.

Last update: February 2021

Additional information