Officials safeguard water supplies to protect hydropower

June 30, 2015

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — Electricity demand and drought have strained water resources, but farmers say the new ban targets them unfairly.

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania — The government will declare some water supplies protected sites because drought conditions have cut hydropower production as demand increases, according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The ban will prohibit any economic activity “near reservoirs or other listed water resources,” noted the article. However, farmers say the move will hurt their incomes.

"I have been farming in this area all my life," said Eliudi Samizi, a rice farmer from Kisimani village in Dodoma, in the article. “If someone asks me to stop fishing or farming, what else can I do to feed my family?"

More than half of Tanzania’s electricity is generated through hydropower, reported the article. The state-run power company TANESCO claims that an increase in human activities is adding to water shortages.

Farmers and herders say the largest cause of the water shortage is climate change, not them, stated the article. “I don't think telling farmers to stop irrigation will be a lasting solution because there's simply not enough rain to fill up the dams," explained Damas John, a pastoralist in Kidatu village in Morogoro, in the article.

Analysts believe the government needs to adapt to the changing weather with new strategies, shared the article. Options include harvesting rainwater and storing water with small dams.

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