June 14, 2011
Stakeholders and citizens in Dar es Salaam have aired their resistance to the proposed water tariff hike by the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA).
The concerns were raised on during an enquiry meeting organized by the Energy and Water Utility Regulatory Authority (EWURA) to get people’s opinions on the matter before it made a final decision.
DAWASA submitted a proposal to EWURA to increase water tariff in order to meet infrastructural and operational costs and offer reliable and quality services to its clients.
The water utility wanted to raise its tariff for metered customers from the current 850/- to 2,416/- per cubic meter of water. A cubic meter is equivalent to 1000 litres.
According to critics, the rise is over 180 per cent, something that the people and other stakeholders said would not be practical because DAWASA never considered the consumers’ willingness and ability to pay.
Abdalah Hari, a city resident said, “This is too much for the common person. It will be difficult for people to live in this city.
There is a need to be careful when it comes to increasing water tariffs. This is a basic necessity and the government should see to it that people get access to it at an affordable cost.”
Said Abeid, Chairman of the EWURA Consumer Consultative Council, said his organization did not believe that chronic problems currently facing them and DAWASA such as lack of accountability, inefficiency and thefts would be solved by increasing tariff as was proposed.
“The percentage of water unaccounted for was over 50, which meant that more than a half of what was produced is lost. Billing efficiency of the little that remained was only 70 per cent. Collection was only 50 to 70 per cent of what is billed,” Mr Abeid informed.
He argued that a different strategy needed to be adopted because under the circumstances, quality and sustainable water and sewerage services for Dar es Salaam, Kibaha and Bagamoyo would never be attained no matter how much more tariff was increased.
His council’s stand was that, many of the city’s water supply and sewerage services problems were to a greater extent a result of the existing institutional setup, which affected both DAWASA and DAWASCO.
This makes accountability a difficult thing between them, since one should make the other accountable.
The Government Consultative Council (GCC) through its representative Ms Magreth Ikongwe, echoed its comments on the matter.
According to her, the increase asked by DAWASA was too big. She advised the DAWASA, if possible, to divide the cost into three years’ payment pattern to give relief to water users.
“However, despite the fact that the increase shows DAWASA’s aim to improve its services, GCC advises EWURA to establish first how DAWASA will meet the challenge as its implementation seems to be long termed,” she said.
Speaking on behalf of EWURA’s Director General, prior to the discussion, Engineer Mutaikulwa Mutegeki, who is the Director of Water and Sewerage services, said the last time his authority approved DAWASA’s increase of tariff was in 2009.
By then DAWASA met all the instructions put forward with regard to the proposed tariff. “This is the fourth proposal to be tabled by DAWASA to EWURA.
We need to make an informed decision on this matter and that is why we value and welcome any opinion by word of mouth, letters or email from all stakeholders in the sector,” added Eng.
Mutegeki. Engineer Boniface Kasiga from DAWASA, pointed out that water waste was a longstanding problem. It cannot be solved over night.
“We need enough funds to deal with this problem by putting in place modern infrastructure, exploit new water sources and offer reliable and quality services to our customers,” said the engineer.
According to him, water demand for Dar es Salaam, Kibaha and Bagamoyo was fast increasing due to growing population, but the infrastructure in place could not meet it.
Production capacity of water was 300,000,000 litres per day while the need was 450,000,000 litres.