Communities conserve their natural springs to provide water for future generations.
The Integrated Approaches for Climate Change Adaptation in the East Usambara Mountains project in Tanzania, which is funded by the EU has worked alongside the district authorities to encourage communities to preserve their natural springs, as villagers rely solely on these water sources for domestic use.
A bylaw has been introduced to fine any villagers 10,00.00 Tanzanian Shillings (4USD) who farm too near to the water sources or pollute the water in any way. Washing clothes, motorbikes and bathing at the spring are all activities that are now discouraged.
lgnatio Mzalia, Executive Officer of Kwamsoso Village in Muheza District has noticed that since the bylaw has been introduced, alongside closely monitoring the springs, the condition of the water sources has improved. Training from the project and its partner, the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group means villagers are more aware of the need to protect these sources.
"There are many activities that affect the water sources and in the past the villagers didn't realise they were contaminating their community water sources. Farming of onions, tomatoes, cabbages, and yams and villagers herding their livestock nearby in the dry season, make this a real problem," said lgnatio Mzalia.
Villages in the project area have elected members of a River Committee to protect and manage the water sources. People now claim the area around the springs is beginning to regenerate. There are now more green spaces and trees. Most importantly, the amount of water has also increased. The level of water had dropped in the area.
Farmers like Shabani Joho also from Kwamsoso village have given up farming near to the water sources, even though farming land is scarce in this mountainous area. "I have seen the benefits as we now have more water and the trees I am planting are growing well," he said.
Villagers are now beginning to see how conservation efforts will benefit their communities in the future.
How River Committees work :
Rive Committees are the lowest appropriate level of management. Committees are responsible for local level management water resources, mediation of disputes among users and between groups within areas of jurisdiction They are also responsible for the collection of various data and information, to participate in the preparation of water utilization plans, and the conservation and protection of water sources and catchment areas. They enforce the law and control pollution.
Project facts :
• 147 people have received training on the Water Policy, Water Resource Management Act and Environmental Act
• 142 people have received training on Climate Change impacts and conservation of water sources
• 147 people have received training on gender roles when conserving water resources