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Tanzanian authorities warn against diverting water from Great Ruaha River

Xinhua, April 24, 2017 Adjust font size:

Tanzanian authorities on Monday warned what they described as wealthy and politically well-connected individuals against diverting water from the Great Ruaha River, the lifeline of more than six million people.

January Makamba, the east African nation's minister of state in the Vice-President's Office responsible for environment, told the National Assembly in Dodoma that the malpractice has greatly affected the river's water flow.

"The government will take punitive measures to individuals found diverting water from the river for irrigating their farms regardless of their status or position," he said.

Makamba said the Great Ruaha River was a major source of hydropower generation in the country, feeding two big hydropower dams of Mtera and Kidatu.

The Great Ruaha River is a river in south-central Tanzania that flows through the Usangu wetlands and the Ruaha National Park east into the Rufiji River.

Its basin catchment area is 83,970 square km, with the population of the river basin mainly sustained by irrigation and water-related livelihoods such as fishing and livestock keeping.

The Great Ruaha River is about 475 km long, and its tributary basin has a catchment area of 68,000 square km.

Makamba said the biggest challenge facing his office is poor environmental awareness among the people.

"I believe this should be the challenge for us all and we should educate our people that most of the environmental effects that we are experiencing today are a result of our own activities," Makamba said. Endit