Researchers from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in collaboration with the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) and other stakeholders have begun a project to evaluate water and environmental situations in the Mbarali river in order to assist the Government in planning the implementation of the best way to conserve the river and the environment for the economic benefits of the nation.
Speaking during the project launch in Mbarali, Professor Japhet Kashaigili who is EFLOWS project leader from Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA), said the first phase of the project involves taking samples and carrying out important tests in this season and later will continue to do so throughout other seasons of the year to gather important information.
“Together, we want to classify areas of the river that need implementation from now. I remember there was a time when we visited your nursery and found that the nursery was damaged due to poor service different from original planning; so, we will plan together to see how we can make it work again. Furthermore, we need to identify areas we need to work on as soon as possible so that we can get them back to normal”, said Professor Kashaigili.
He added, “Since this is a matter of community engagement around the river including other government agencies, we will assist each other in reaching the beneficiaries. On our side as a team of researchers, some of us will need to talk to the community to get accurate data from users of water including the environment in general. Others will cooperate in selecting appropriate places of the river to take samples as well as conducting tests on health of the river and water”.
Professor Japhet Kashaigili talking to water user associations leaders during the official launch of the project in Mbarali, Mbeya
He concluded by indicating that they are generally trying to find out how the river is and that the assessment does not only focus on water but also the ecology of the river including the living organisms whose presence or absent in a particular area of the river. With this attention, the residents’ support of the project is highly needed.
Speaking on behalf of other Water Users Associations, Mr. Siasa Shabani, the Chairman of the Mbarali River Water Users Association congratulated the researchers from SUA, National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), University of Dodoma (UDOM), Tanzania Forest Research Institute (TAFORI), the Open University of Tanzania (OUT) and the Rufiji River Basin Office for their decision to undertake this study which will greatly help them as water users to find the best scientific ways to protect the river.
“We are very grateful and relieved to see you as researchers have decided to do this important research and evaluation for the well-being of this river, and even more to decide working in river areas directly rather than to come and end up in seminar venues without knowing the realities of what is going on to the environment of the river and the basin”, explained Mr Siasa.
EFLOWS project researchers and community leaders from the Mbarali River Water User Association walking along the Mbarali River to see humanitarian activities taking place along the river
The two-year project is known as Sustainable Catchment Management through Enhanced Environmental Flow Assessment and Implementation for the Protection of the Western Indian Ocean from Land Based Sources and Activities in Tanzania (EFLOWS). The project seeks to determine the quantity and quality of water and sediment flows necessary to sustain freshwater and estuarine ecosystems and the human livelihoods and wellbeing that depend on them. Though governments and other stakeholders recognize the key role of sustained environmental flows to communities and the environment, there has been no standardized, region-wide approach to conducting environmental flows assessments
This is one among the five projects under implementation in nine countries for attaining four objectives of the huge mother project known as WIOSAP, which is after the management of special habitats for living things, improving water quality by 2035 within the project’s participating countries to reach International Standards on Sustainable management of river flows, administration, and regional cooperation.
Story and Photo by
Amina Hezron, SUAMEDIA