Processes, experiences and guidelines for the formation of sub-catchment water users associations in the great Ruaha river catchment area – Iringa and Mbeya regions, Tanzania

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The World Wide Fund for Nature-Tanzania Country Office (WWF-TCO), with financial support from the European Union (EU), is implementing a Ruaha Water Programme with the aim to ensure that by 2010 the people of the Great Ruaha River Catchment Area (GRRCA) are planning, managing and utilising their water and related natural resources in sustainable ways, alleviating poverty and improving livelihoods. • Accordingly, Water Users Associations (WUAs) have been established to empower communities to play more active roles in managing and using the water resources in sustainable ways through containing the problems related to the use of water resources. The problems include decline in water flow in rivers, destruction of catchment areas, cultivation up to river banks, diverting water without permission, and presence of water unfriendly plants at river sources, just to name a few. • However, there were no clear guidelines on how to form the WUAs, albeit the basis was the National Water Policy (NAWAPO) of 2002 statements including the ones that water resources management has to be participatory and that water staff will have the mandate to form water users associations where deemed necessary. • Therefore, WWF-TCO saw a need to document the processes through which the WUAs were formed, with intent to improve the steps of WUA formation in future. Therefore, it commissioned this study to be done, with the overall objective to document WWF’s and other stakeholders’/actors’ experiences in Sub-catchment Water Users Associations formation and develop guidelines that could be used to guide future formation of Sub- catchment WUAs in the GRRCA and in Tanzania at large.


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Ruaha, River catchment area, water users, Iringa and Mbeya regions