Conflict of water use between hydropower and irrigation in Tanzania
More than 80% of Tanzania’s population is employed by agriculture, largely more than 95% being on smallholder scales. Currently out of 1 million hectares of irrigable land, only 25% of the area is under irrigation, fully or supplemental. On the other hand about 69% of the electrical energy in the national grid is hydropower.
Two large power sytems, Mtera-Kidatu in Rufiji basin and Nyumba ya Mungu-Hale-New Pangani Falls in Pangani basin are located downstream the irrigation schemes. In the past 14 years there have been uprising conflicts over water between irrigation in upstream and hydropower in the downstream with heavy accusation for over-abstraction of water by smallholders to meet irrigation expansion.
Contemporarily, Tanzania views irrigated agriculture as one of the most important strategies for attaining food security and poverty reduction as elaborated in country’s poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP). Indeed the challenge is attaining such a poverty reduction strategy in a non harmonized sectoral water related development that eventually feeds into the PRSP.
This paper critically discusses the problems of water use as a result of policy oriented sectoral development approaches with reference to hydropower and agriculture sectors in the Rufiji and Pangani basins in Tanzania. An approach for linking water related developments that impact other sectors within the environment of integrated water resources management (IWRM) is explored and suggested.
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