Author: a.mkwawa

Intercountry Learning on Industrial Wastewater Management between Tanzania and Zambia

The often-inadequate disposal of industrial wastewaters into public sewers deteriorates sewer structures, increases maintenance costs, adds problems in sewage treatment and contributes to stream pollution. Direct discharge into streams harms aquatic life and deems the water unfit for its intended use by both communities and businesses. Therefore, it is necessary to reduce the volumes and levels of toxicity of wastes entering waterways through a combination of measures. 

Industrial wastewater discharged into waterways causes serious health risks, especially for communities relying on the water for their household needs. Copyright: GIZ/Jesper Anhede 

Challenges resulting from poor Industrial Wastewater Management

In Zambia, like in many other countries, issues around industrial wastewater (IWW) management are given less priority than those related to water supply. This is oblivious to the fact that both water supply and IWW management are essential and interrelated. Wastewater from industries and sewage spillages from burst pipes in most urban centres, including Zambia’s capital Lusaka, are released into streams and wetlands. From there, they subsequently discharge into catchment areas or leach into aquifers upon which communities and businesses are heavily dependent on for water supply. Most of the poorly managed wastewater from industries is released into the environment in an untreated or partially treated state. Also, most industries have adopted substandard treatment methods that partially treat and, in some cases, even forego the effluent treatment process in totality. Therefore, industrial wastewater management becomes critical. As such, an effective IWW strategy is necessary to promote and improve IWW management and determine priorities pertaining to the enforcement of applicable legislation, monitoring, and engagement with industries.  

Intercountry Learning on Industrial Wastewater Management between Zambia and Tanzania. Copyright: GIZ/Dijana Delic

To effectively do this, an intercountry learning exchange was coordinated by the GIZ Reform of the Water Sector Programme Phase II (RWS II) active in Zambia and the GFA Consulting Group with support from NatuReS Tanzania and Zambia. The objective was for the Tanzanian partners of NatuReS to share best practices, challenges and effective innovations in managing industrial wastewater with their Zambian counterparts. Case presentations were made by Eng. Miriam Esanju from the Wami Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB) from Tanzania and Fred Chimpukutu, Senior Chemist at the Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company (LWSC) from Zambia, triggering insightful exchange of experiences and success factors that could help with challenges such as environmental pollution, faced across both countries.

Industrial Wastewater Management in Tanzania: Challenges and Solutions

This video visualizes both the processes and the regulators involved in industrial wastewater management, showcasing the example of an imaginary factory in the Benjamin William Mkapa Special Economic Zone in Dar-es-Salaam. Copyright/GIZ NatuReS Tanzania, Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (DAWASA), National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), The Confederation of Tanzanian Industries (CTI) and Wami Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB)

In Tanzania, industrialization is one of the key strategic objectives within the National Development Framework. However, with the expansion of water-intensive production, treating the increasing amounts of wastewater poses major environmental and regulatory challenges, such as the complex process of obtaining official permits for the appropriate disposal of wastewater. As multiple regulating agencies are involved in this process, industries are required to obtain various types of permits. This resulted in complex and lengthy processes to safely dispose of wastewater. The untreated wastewater discharge does not only have negative impacts on the ecosystem and the health of communities using the water, but also on foreign investment, as international investors increasingly value environmental compliance. Therefore, NatuReS under the Partnership with the Tanzania Export Processing Zones Authority has supported the development of industrial wastewater guidelines, as well as the integration of digital water management systems for a more efficient permit regulation. 

Industrial Wastewater Management in Tanzania: Stakeholder Interviews

The video includes testimonies from the regulators, explaining their roles and responsibilities in managing industrial wastewater. The confederation of Tanzania Industries (CTI) on behalf of the private sector highlights the persisting challenge to environmental compliance by industries and why it is important to have a coordinated approach in managing industrial wastewater. Copyright/GIZ NatuReS Tanzania, Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (DAWASA), National Environmental Management Council (NEMC), The Confederation of Tanzanian Industries (CTI) and Wami Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB)

Industrial Wastewater Management in Zambia: Way Forward 

A Trade Effluent Management (TEM) Task Team has been established in Lusaka with stakeholders from the mandated and responsible authorities led by LWSC as well as industries located in Lusaka. The TEM seeks to coordinate the mobilization and use of human, financial, and other relevant resources for the implementation of industrial wastewater management activities for the city of Lusaka. The task team also seeks to support the coordination of the regulation, monitoring, enforcement and management of the trade effluent discharge into the sewerage system. 

The shared lessons from Tanzania have the potential to inform current activities in Zambia and could be adapted by LWSC to ensure the effective treatment and management of industrial wastewater effluent. These lessons also aimed to improve LWSC’s monitoring of industrial wastewater and the safeguarding of the two new wastewater treatment plants to be constructed through the Lusaka Sanitation Programme with support from KFW and EIB, as well as technical assistance from RWS II. 

Combating Pesticide Pollution in Tanzania  

Strengthening water security is crucial to enhance farmers’ resilience to climate change, as well as to combat unprecedented global shocks such as Covid-19. Changing rainfall patterns and catchment degradation are stressing water resources in the Pangani basin in Northern Tanzania, while water demand is increasing due to both population and economic growth in the catchment. Combined with the pollution created by the run-off from agricultural land, these factors are severely affecting the catchment’s water quality. In turn, poor water quality is affecting the health of riverain communities, who rely on the water resources for cooking, sanitation, etc., making them less resilient to the pandemic or other diseases resulting from inadequate hygiene conditions. 

To address these issues, the international NGO Rikolto, through the Sustainable Water Management (SUWAMA) Partnerships and supported by the Natural Resources Stewardship Programme, trained smallholder farmers in the Usa River and Weruweru sub-catchments on sustainable agricultural practices. Trainees learned how to improve fertilizer and pesticide use to reduce chemical pollution from the pesticide discharge into the river furrows.

Pesticide Training conducted by the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticide Authority. Copyright: GIZ/Ine Tollenaers

Efficient and sustainable farming practices 

Farmers in the Usa River and Weruweru sub-catchments extensively use pesticides, based on the idea that preventive spraying is necessary to protect their crops and obtain good yields. Often times however, the dosage is applied in excess, or the chemical required for the crop is misapplied because the labelling on these pesticides is either not clear or not in their language. Furthermore, these farmers – mostly women – do not have access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during spray times in the field, putting them at risk through the regular exposure to chemicals. Moreover, harmful amounts of pesticide residue leak into the water channels, thus contaminating village water supplies. Finally, the fruits and vegetables available on the markets contain high amounts of pesticide residues unsuitable for consumption. All these factors put pressure on the ecosystem and lower community resilience. This has become particularly evident during the Covid-19 pandemic, when safe water uses, and hygiene became a priority. 

Good Agricultural Practices training by Flora Arumeru. Copyright: GIZ/Ine Tollenaers

Improving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) conditions 

In order to improve WASH conditions, both at farm and at household level (WASH@Farm@Home), an inter-sectoral collaboration between Rikolto and the Tanzania Plant Health and Pesticide Authority (TPHPA) was sought to raise awareness and improve current farming practices. An intensive ‘training of trainers’ capacitated 108 farmers, providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to train their peers on the safe use of pesticides. The 108 trainers will each coach 12 fellow farmers, hence reaching a total of 1296 trained smallholder farmers. Practical, interactive trainings were conducted on 14 demonstration plots, and the 108 trainers were provided with the necessary equipment to enable them to adequately pass on the skills and knowledge gained.  

News coverage on Good Agricultural Practices trainings and Personal Protective Equipment material distribution. Copyright: ITV Tanzania

Collection centres for pesticide containers, first of their kind in the country

In addition to the training sessions, three pesticide collection centres (one square meter by two metres high) were set up to enable farmers to safely dispose of empty or expired pesticide containers in their community. These empty containers will be collected by TPHPA for safe disposal. This cost-effective, innovative solution is the first of its kind in Tanzania and can be replicated across the country, thus reducing chemical contamination in the country’s water streams. 

News coverage on the Pesticide Collection Centres. Copyright: ITV Tanzania

Digitizing Water Management Systems for Sustainable Economic Growth in Tanzania

Many emerging economies and developing countries invest in special economic zones and industrial parks to boost their manufacturing and agricultural potential. However, as most industries heavily rely on water, their activities can lead to overuse and the discharge of untreated wastewater. These environmental risks not only affect adjacent populations, but can also lead to operational and supplier disruptions, higher production costs, reputational damage, and reduced investments. To reduce these risks, on an institutional level, the Natural Resource Stewardship Programme (NatuReS) seeks to embed water and natural resources stewardship principles into national and regional standards, as well as in the governance framework of economic zones and industrial parks. 

WUMIS and Maji IS systems were introduced during the Tanzania Water Week. Copyright: GIZ/Aristarick Mkenda 

Collaboration with the Ministry of Water

The Wami-Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB) is one of the nine basin water offices in Tanzania under the overall structure of the Ministry of Water (MoW). WRBWB’s major responsibility is managing and protecting water sources in three of the country’s most important catchments, the Wami River Basin, the Ruvu River Basin, and the coastal drainages. As the main custodian of water resources, the Wami-Ruvu Basin Water Board has been collaborating with NatuReS through the partnership with the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), in enhancing the regulatory environment for investors regarding water-related concerns. Moreover, they are collaborating to improve the overall attractiveness of these zones by helping to secure water as a key resource for economic development and transformation. 

Digital water management systems for enhanced efficiency

In 2018, the WRBWB started to develop a permitting system that would enable the basin to issue water use, discharge and drilling permits online. Through this partnership and with NatuReS’ support, the online multi-agency Water User Information Management System (WUMIS) was further improved to include all water use and discharge permit application, payment, monitoring and reporting processes and to cater demand from different regulatory agencies such as the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Authority (DAWASA), the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) or the National Environment Management Council (NEMC). The developed online solution quickly attracted the interest of other Basin Water Boards in the country and discussions were held with the Ministry of Water (MoW).

Simultaneously, the MoW itself had already begun to develop a similar system targeting all nine water basins, called Maji Information System (Maji IS) with ‘Maji’ translating to ‘water’ in Kiswahili. Because of the similarities, the system functionalities of WUMIS and Maji IS were compared to identify the more convenient system that could be upscaled and made available countrywide. While many features are the same, it was concluded that WUMIS is a more suitable option, because it also includes the option for new users to apply for a water permit online. This lowers entry barriers by saving them the long-distance trip to central basin water board offices. By making the official application process more convenient and practical, the MAJI IS system helps to reach all users. Already existing permits are migrated into the new system. 

Participants from Pangani and Wami Ruvu Basin Water Offices at a workshop on WUMIS in Morogoro. Copyright: GIZ/Aristarick Mkenda 

Opportunities of a digital permitting system

Currently, the functionalities of WUMIS and Maji IS are being integrated into the government’s digital environment to make their services more efficient and accessible. After the finalization of these steps, the new permitting system will be managed by the Ministry and will be fully documented and programmed in an open-source system that will allow for future changes and additions.  

This digital permitting system allows water management entities to predetermine time-specific demands for freshwater supply and wastewater discharge. By ensuring the supply of required quantities, water security for industrial production is increased. All in all, the development and implementation of digital water management solutions provide great opportunities to create regulatory clarity, ease water management and hence support a more sustainable economic growth in special economic zones and industrial parks. 

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