The Lake Victoria Basin Water Board (LVBWB), in coordination with the Ministry of Water of Tanzania, launched a groundbreaking water allocation plan (WAP) in the country’s portion of the Mara River Basin, shared with its northern neighbor, Kenya.
The decisions agreed to in the WAP were arrived at after three years of scientific studies and stakeholder consultations. The WAP was facilitated by the USAID-funded Sustainable Water Partnership (SWP) working with the LVBWB, the Tanzanian Ministry of Water, and the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), which operates under the umbrella of the East African Community. It featured collaboration with the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Programme/GIZ (NELSAP) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Kenya and Tanzania.
The Mara River Basin is home to more than one million residents, as well as globally important ecological sites the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Yet today the basin is experiencing water security challenges due to increasing demand for water, deforestation, climate change, and economic activities such as mining, agriculture and animal husbandry.
The WAP addresses these threats by providing guidance about how available water should be distributed to individual users through the issuance of water permits. When available water is insufficient to meet demand, the WAP prioritizes allocations to ensure sustainable development of the river basin. The plan contains multiple options for allocating water depending on water availability and current, medium- and long-term demand. As a next step, the LVBVB will use the WAP to monitor water allocations and review new permit applications for water withdrawals.
The plan builds on the 2009 Tanzania Water Resources Management Act and a 2015 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Tanzania and Kenya to cooperatively manage the shared river basin. The MOU detailed a commitment to cooperate on water allocation, water supply and sanitation, capacity building, data and information sharing, and research and development.
To read more about the WAP, read the following:
Water Allocation Plan for the Mara River Catchment, Tanzania
Case Study: Water Allocation Planning for the Lower Mara River Basin in Tanzania