Tanzania is to develop irrigation and hydropower projects in the southern highlands after receiving $2.26 million under the Africa Water Facility (AWF) project for a 22-month pre-feasibility study.
The project will be funded by the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) and the government of Tanzania.
The Tanzania project is part of AWF’s $1.8 billion water and sanitation projects in Africa.
The Climate Resilient Infrastructure Development Facility will provide $335,000 and the Tanzanian government $223,000 for the study, which will cover the dam on Ruhuhu River in Ruvuma region and its reservoir, an associated hydropower plant, a high voltage transmission line, an irrigation scheme and agro-business development.
AfDB’s director of water and sanitation Mohamed El Azizi said the bank has funded water programmes worth $60 million in recent years.
When completed, the 300MW hydro project will increase Tanzania’s hydropower capacity by 53 per cent.
Tanzania’s installed hydropower capacity stands at 562MW. The hydropower project will thus address Tanzania’s long-standing shortage of power supply.
According to AWFT the project will also improve availability of water resources for irrigation and associated activities in the area. This will boost agricultural productivity and provide additional revenues to local farmers.
Crop production is currently dominated by rain-fed agriculture.
While agriculture is the backbone of Tanzania’s economy, accounting for irregular weather conditions.
Head of East Africa region for Water Aid Lydia Zigomo told The EastAfrican that population growth, uneven distribution of water, poor technology and lack of funds were the main problems affecting water development in Africa.
“We are looking at the best options to support African communities to gain access to water services as governments across the continent need to allocate more resources to their water ministries,” said Ms Zigomo.
She pointed out Madagascar, Somalia, Liberia and Sierra Leone as some of African countries that are facing shortage of water for agricultural and economic projects.