Family withdrawing water from newly constructed water tank © Joseph Baraka, Mavuno Project, 2011

Water Clubs for Sustainable Water Provision in Tanzania

Case Study: engaging with households to maintain sustainable water supply systems in rural areas

Context

The Mavuno Project, a local Tanzanian NGO, has been building rain water harvesting tanks to increase access to clean water in rural areas of Karagwe, Tanzania since 2008, with technical and financial support from the Berlin chapter of Engineers Without Borders.  The tanks are built for individual households, which must join a Water Club to which they contribute a small amount of water each month. The contribution is used to employ a trained maintenance officer who carries out water quality tests, does repairs and advises households on how best to use the water tanks.

 

Action and Outcomes

So far, the Water Clubs are appreciated and help to ensure long-term maintenance and sustainability of the water tanks built.

“Several families came to our office and asked to join the water club even though they don’t have a EWB-Mavuno project water tank. These families have heard about the maintenance system and the advantages it brings. This positive feedback shows us, that we are doing the right thing”.

Joseph Baraka, Water Tank Project Coordinator at Mavuno Project at a meeting in September 2011

 

Lessons Learned

  • Targeting the construction of water systems at household level, coupled with an obligation to pay affordable, recurrent fees to a Water Club, can help to build more ownership, as well as reduce corruption risks in the long-term
  • Water Clubs with qualified officers, help to ensure good water quality and the sustainability of water structures. They provide a platform to help share ideas, experiences and knowledge of water management, through regular meetings
  • Water Clubs have the potential to sustain themselves financially and help neighbouring households to secure their own access to water