Photo, Multiconsult: Water will be pumped from Lake Victoria to inland villages.

Water supply project in northern Tanzania

Around half of Tanzania’s population still lacks access to clean drinking water. Multiconsult is helping to plan a major water supply project in the Simiyu region in the north of the country.

Earlier this year, the Tanzanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation selected Multiconsult to carry out an environmental and social impact assessment for the Simiyu project. This major project will provide clean drinking water to 136 villages with a combined population of around 263,000 people.

– Clean drinking water is essential to human health and to development in general. We’re pleased that we will be able to help safeguard the environmental sustainability of this important project, says Jørn Stave, Multiconsult’s Project Manager.

<h3>High-profile project</h3>
The impact assessment was completed at the end of June, which was the deadline for submitting it to the UN’s Green Climate Fund. The plan is that the investment costs will be covered by the Fund and by the German investment bank KfW.

– This is a high-profile project in Tanzania, and one which is a key priority for the authorities. This project also demonstrates that Multiconsult has environmental advisors with world-leading expertise, says Gro Dyrnes, the head of Multiconsult’s Natural Resources section.

<h3>Taking water from Lake Victoria</h3>
The Simiyu region borders Lake Victoria, which is the only reliable water source in this dry part of Tanzania. The developers plan to pump water from Lake Victoria to a new water treatment plant and then on through a 135 km long water pipeline to the inland villages. The estimated capacity of the pipeline will be 19 million litres per day.

– The water pipes will be installed in trenches alongside main roads. However, the impact assessment found that parts of the route runs through cultivated and built-up areas. Multiconsult therefore proposes rerouting the water pipeline in certain places to avoid land-use conflicts and resettlement. Moreover, we recommend relocating two water reservoirs that would come into conflict with a planned nickel mine and an important cultural heritage site for the local population,” explains Stave.

The amount of water taken from Lake Victoria by the Simiyu project will not in itself significantly affect the water balance of the lake, but the combined impact of this and many other water abstraction projects around Lake Victoria must be managed in collaboration with the other countries that share the same water resources. As a first step, the Tanzanian authorities will send the impact assessment report to the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Uganda.

<h3>Compensation payments for affected properties</h3>
The next project phase is the detailed design, where Multiconsult will be responsible for developing a “resettlement action plan”. This involves, among other things, carrying out a valuation of all of the affected properties and calculating the compensation payments.

The environmental and social impact assessment can be downloaded from KfW’s website.