Climate-sensitive Water Resource Management

Like many other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Tanzania is expected to be severely affected by the impacts of climate change, with flooding and periods of drought having the potential of causing serious economic and social harm. The projected climate-related variability of water resources is likely to have a negative impact on the country’s productive potential as well as on the fight against poverty, especially as Tanzania’s economy is highly dependent on water for agricultural production. As climate change is a relatively new topic in Tanzania, further capacity development is needed to ensure that climate change is integrated into policy documents and addressed through activities on the ground.

Given the current and expected future impacts of climate change on Tanzania’s water resources, the water sector is taking a leading role in preparing the country to a changing climate. The responsibility for Water Resources Management in Tanzania lies with the Ministry of Water (MoW). It has established Basin Water Boards (BWB) in all nine water basins as an important step towards a more decentralised Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) approach, following the orientations of the 2009 Water Resources Management Act.

As part of the GIZ–Support to Water Sector Development (SWSD) Programme, the component ‘Climate-sensitive Water Resources Management’ was established in 2012. It provides support to MoW by realising a multi-level approach encompassing the national (MoW Division of Water Resources) as well as water basin levels (Lake Nyasa and Lake Rukwa BWB), and by deploying a mix of long-term technical advisors and short-term experts.


MoW plays its role as a coordinator in the water sector as regards climate change, focusing on sustainable water resources management.

The main focus of the component is on:

  1.  Supporting MoW to take action on climate-sensitive Water Resources Management
  2.  Supporting effective dialogue on climate change in the water sector 

Recent supported activities comprised:

  • Improvement and application of a regular monitoring mechanism for BWB (Performance Assessment Framework ) which has been included as a standard tool into the multi-donor funded national Water Sector Development Programme (WSDP). The tool has been applied two times country wide and Basin Water Boards are using it to improve service delivery within their Basins, while the MoW understands the needs of the sub-national institutions to increase the necessary support.
  • Support to MoW to introduce a National Climate Change Dialogue Forum . Nine events have been held since 2012 (every three months), which are hosting participants from Ministry of Water, Basin Water Boards and other relevant stakeholders for Multi-sector approaches in climate change adaptation in the water sector (e.g. Vice Presidents Office, Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Tanzanian Meteorological Agency, private sector companies, civil society organizations, development partners). The forum has become an important event to this inter-sectoral exchange with a focus on adaptation action.
  • Support to develop a format for a Basin level Climate Change forum. The first forum was tested in Lake Rukwa Basin in May 2015. The second forum will take into account lessons learnt and will incorporate an action oriented multi-sector approach for climate change adaptation on catchment level.
  • Support in developing a methodology for developing Basin Water Board communication strategies . This tool has been successfully implemented in Lake Rukwa and Lake Nyasa Basins and is currently applied for all remaining Basins through a team of facilitators of the Ministry of Water. By early 2016 all river basins of Tanzania are scheduled to have communication strategies in order to strategically address the information needs of relevant water resources stakeholders (local governments, businesses, local population etc.)
  • A baseline study to assess Water Resources Data Management (hydrological, hydrogeological and meteorological) in Tanzania in order to support better data quality. The results will be used to develop a capacity development package for Basin Water Boards in order to enable them to measure, transfer, store and analyse relevant water information with a view on better water resources management.
  • Support to MoW in developing a Capacity Development Plan, taking into account strengths and weaknesses of the Department of Water Resources in order to strategically assess and overcome them. Future support will be based on the analysis of this plan.
  • Support to organizational development to Lake Rukwa and Lake Nyasa Basin through employment of two long-term advisors stationed in the respective organizations.
  • Development of a climate change training specifically for Basin Water Boards and Water User Associations, which uses a multi-sectoral approach by also inviting stakeholders from all sectors relevant for sustainable Water Resources Management into the training. First application in early October 2015, with a subsequent training of trainers, to ensure future application. The training material has been prepared as a modular system that is available to interested institutions.