Legal Pluralism & Integrated Water Resources Management
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Tanzania is at an advanced stage of drafting a new legal framework for water resources management. The framework is ostensibly designed to attain the objectives of the National Water Policy of 2002. These objectives include the development of a comprehensive framework for promoting the optimal, sustainable and equitable development and use of water resources for the benefit of all Tanzanians; and separation of water resources management legislation from those of service provision. Three separate pieces of legislation will result from the proposed legal framework to cover water resources management, rural water supply and urban water supply and sewerage.

In light of proposed framework, this case study surveys the increasing pressure on water resources, the efforts of the government in Tanzania trying to fix property regimes and formalizing informal arrangements related to the use of this resource. The case study considers the new roles of established Basin Water Boards (BWBs) and Basin Water Offices (BWOs) in management of water utilization by different users, and especially traditional rights holders, and to what extent the proposed legislative dispensation will protect the existing traditional or customary water rights.

Some people contend that the proposed legal framework and the formalization process constitute a vital step in the transformation of the informal economy and reduction of poverty. Others have raised doubting voices about the viability and the desirability of blanket formalization of property rights. Using the findings from research in the Pangani and Rufiji Basins as points of reference, the case study explores the challenges involved in formalization of water rights and its implications for equitable sharing of water resources in Tanzania.

The case study explores the pros and cons of formalization, citing cases where formalization may be appropriate, and where other arrangements may still be maintained. The study deals with the following themes: (i) implications of formalization of water rights for different groups of water users (ii) constraints analysis of organizations and individuals involved in water resources management (iii) the roles, strengths, and weaknesses of different institutions in water resources management, and (iv) how to scale up successful institutional innovations.


Juma, I. and F. Maganga. 2004. Formalization of Water Rights and its Implications for Equitable Sharing of Water Resources in Tanzania. Paper presented at the 5th Waternet/WARFSA IWRM annual symposium, Windhoek, Namibia, October 2004
pdf 145 kB

Juma, I.J. & Maganga, F.P. 2005. Current reforms and their implications for rural water management in Tanzania, in African Water Laws: Plural Legislative Frameworks for Rural Water Management in Africa (Eds. B. van Koppen, J.A. Butterworth and I.J. Juma). Proceedings of a workshop held in Johannesburg, South Africa, 26-28 January 2005. IWMI, Pretoria.
pdf 216 kB

Maganga, F.P. 2003. Incorporating customary laws in implementation of IWRM: some insights from Rufiji River Basin, Tanzania. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, Volume 28, Pp995-1000
pdf 120 kB

Maganga, F. P., Kiwasila, H. L., Juma, I. H. and Butterworth, J. A. 2003. Implications of customary norms and laws for implementing IWRM: Findings from Pangani and Rufiji basins, Tanzania, in Proceedings of 4th WATERNET/WARFSA Symposium, Gaborone, Botswana.
pdf 129 kB

Maganga, F.P., Hilda L. Kiwasila, Ibrahim H. Juma and Butterworth, J.A. 2004. Implications of customary norms and laws for implementing IWRM: findings from Pangani and Rufiji basins, Tanzania. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, Volume 29, Pp1335-1342
pdf 323 kB