An assessment of the sustainability of community based water resource management in Mara river basin: case of Tigithe sub-catchment, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This qualitative study is drawn from CBNRM literature. It assesses the sustainability of community based water resource management in Mara River Basin, Tanzania focusing on Tigithe Sub-catchment. The study is centred around the following premises: Sustainable CBWRM depends on; first local communities’ bottom up inclusiveness and being aware to accept the management approach in place. Second, communities’ activities and practices have considerable impacts onwater needs, uses and management. Third, community diversity poses challenges in the management of common shared and fenceless resources. The study used interview and observation as research methods and data collection tools. The research consisted of semi-structured interview sessions to twenty six respondents and eight observation cases. The results revealed that community based water resources management groups known as WUAs/Gsare not effectively working since when they were formed in 2010/2011 by WWF with the help of Mare River Sub-basin for both Lower and Upper Tigithe Sub-catchment respectively. The current WUAs/Gs exist only in documents rather than in practices and therefore are unpopular among the local people. The causes for the ineffectiveness of WUAs/Gs includes: First is lack of government and other stakeholders’ commitment to enhance both structural, financial and human resources capacity to help WUAs/Gs reinforce rules and regulations under the current social and economic situations. Second is the misconception of the term “community” by policy makers as a static and homogeneous social structure within a defined resource boundary. This undermines the effects of differences that exist in and between communities on fenceless resources like water. It also underestimates the gradual and rapid cultural, social, economic and political changes that affect the value, demand and uses of water resource among various actors over time and space. Ineffectiveness of the current WUAs/Gs result in unguided activities including deforestation, fire burning, overgrazing, mining along the river, pollution, washing, bathing, cultivation, brick making and local wine making. These malpractices have resulted in the rapid decline of water in the Sub-catchment and severe drought creating more socio-economic and environmental shortfalls. Firstly this study recommends revisiting the current water resource management policy to broaden its scope to accommodate “community” and enhance flexibility. Secondly, is for the government and other stakeholders’ continued commitment in empowering, social improvements and economic diversification that will enhance effective WUAs/Gs. Lastly, is research on various water related aspects including land, sustainable socio-economic opportunities, reliable sources of energy, trend of environmental changes and environmental health. These will enhance sustainability of both Tigithe Sub-catchment and CBWRM approach.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HD1699.T34M83)
Water resources development, Citizen participation, Water supply, Mara river basin, Mara region, Tanzania, Tigithe sub - catchment
Mugeta, A. (2016) An assessment of the sustainability of community based water resource management in Mara river basin: case of Tigithe sub-catchment, Tanzania, Master dissertation,University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam.