The Nile Basin flows within Tanzania form part of the inflow to Lake Victoria and one of the countries in the Nile Equatorial lakes region. Although the Nile Basin portion forms only about 9 percent of the national area, it is more significant in terms of the country’s water resources as it represents one of the more humid areas. Tanzania has a population of 36,580,000 million people and total area of 886,040 sq km (342,000 sq miles

Tanzania is riparian to transboundary water resources with neighbouring countries.  These water bodies include Lakes Victoria, Tanganyika, Nyasa, Chala and Jipe, as well as Kagera, Mara, Umba and Songwe Rivers.  Each of these water bodies exhibits unique characteristics and a complex range of water management and development issues and challenges.  These challenges include environmental management issues such as water pollution, biodiversity conservation, wetlands and catchment degradation, fisheries management and water hyacinth control.

Others are river basin development for irrigation, domestic and livestock water supply, and for hydropower production.  There are also issues regarding international border stabilization, river control and regulation, and inter-basin water transfers.  In order to make effective utilization of trans-boundary water resources efforts have to be directed at assessing the needs of Tanzania, development of national plans and promotion of regional cooperation and integration with riparian states

Water pollution is widespread, and is aggravated by the increasing population and economic activities. Extensive clearing of forests and bush fires is resulting in soil erosion, leading to high turbidity in many surface waters. Deterioration of environmental quality is a constraint on the medium and long-term prospects for sustainable water resources development.


The Ministry of Water is NBI’s focal point ministry and its Minister is a member of the Nile-COM.  Two senior officials from the Ministry, the Assistant Director and the Lake Victoria Basin Water Officer respectively represent the country on the Nile Technical Advisory Committee (Nile-TAC).

To facilitate in-country coordination of NBI’s activities, Tanzania established a focal point institution within the National NBI Office whose specific roles include: to provide a forum for in-country coordination of NBI’s projects and activities; to assist with promoting coordination and integration with other relevant national activities and initiatives as well as logistical arrangements for incoming NBI missions.

The country contributes US$ 50,000 annually towards NBI’s operational costs. This is in addition to providing counterpart funds for all investment projects, as well as hosting and meeting all local costs for Project Management Units. Tanzania is hosting the ongoing Regional Power Trade (RPT) Project from June 2004 to June 2009 (Phase I) and July 2009 to December 2011 (Phase 2); as well as Mara River Basin Management Project located in Musoma.

Also worth noting is the in-kind contribution to NBI in terms of supervision and technical guidance by Nile-TAC members, staff time by national staff attending specialized meetings on NBI issues, organized at national level, hosting incoming NBI missions and offering office space for Project Management Units based in the country.

Furthermore, staff time through either secondment or direct hire of coordinators based on relevant sector institutions is increasingly being devoted to NBI’s different programs and projects.  Steady progress has been made in mainstreaming/integrating NBI activities in the national planning and budgeting processes.

With respect to level of integration, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania signed the Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA) in recognition of the importance of a permanent legal institution in ensuring sustainable development and equitable utilisation of the common water resources of the Nile River. Tanzania is now in the process of ratification of the CFA with the other riparian countries which have signed the CFA with the objective of formally instituting the desired Nile Basin Commission.


Tanzania is implementing NBI’s basin-wide capacity building projects, and sub-regional investment projects. The projects are identified and prepared through a participatory process.


Tanzania successfully participated in the implementation of the largely completed basin-wide capacity building projects.  The on-going Water Resources Planning and Management (WRPM) project is developing the necessary basin-wide management tools and building capacity for best practices. The Regional Power Trade (RPT) project is building capacity for power trade and development through preparation of the Comprehensive Basin Wide assessment of power options in the Nile Basin.


These projects fall under the Water Resources Development function of NBI. The portfolio of investment projects is categorised into three sectors: Power, Agriculture, and River Basin Management. This represents the priority needs of member countries – for increased access to reliable and cheap electricity, for increased food security and productivity and for increased protection and management of the environment as a basis for livelihoods of the basin populations. Projects active in Tanzania are spearheaded, prepared and coordinated by NBI’s Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) Coordination Unit based in Kigali, Rwanda. Project implementation is undertaken at national level.



Regional Rusumo Hydropower and Multipurpose Project

The project will generate an estimated 90 MW to be shared with Rwanda and Tanzania. The power generation infrastructure will be located at Rusumo Falls on the border between Tanzania and Rwanda. The transmission lines will extend from the power generation plant to Gitega in Burundi, Kigali in Rwanda, and Nyakanazi in Tanzania. The project is beneficial to the following to the districts of Ngara and Biharamulo.

The Kenya-Tanzania Interconnection Project

The transmission line will run from Nairobi (Isinya substation) in Kenya to Arusha (Singida substation) in Tanzania. Currently there is no interconnection between the electricity grids of the two countries. The project will contribute to the reduction of transmission losses, Industrial growth, revenue gains and economic growth.


Regional Agricultural Trade and Productivity Project

This project will carry out studies that will highlight potential agriculture and agricultural trade opportunities in the Nile basin countries and beyond. It will also increase knowledge of basin agriculture in NBI institutions as well as promote more efficient and sustainable use of water resources and economically viable investment in agriculture.

River Basin Management

Kagera Transboundary Integrated Water Resources Management & Development Project

The project will establish a sustainable framework for the joint management of the water resources of the Kagera basin, in order to prepare for sustainable development oriented investments to improve the living conditions of the people and to protect the environment. The project is operational in the districts of Ngara, Kyaka.

The Mara Transboundary Integrated Water Resources Managemennt & Development 

The project is contributing to improved living conditions of the basin communities by creating an enabling environment for sustainable development oriented investments and building capacity of staff and communities in Integrated Water Resource Management and development. The project is operational in four districts of Tarime, Serengeti, Musoma and Rorya.


Through its three core functions of: Building cooperation, Water resource management and Water resource development, NBI provides Tanzania with:

Building Cooperation

• A platform upon which the Nile Council of Ministers can dialogue on management and development of the shared water resources of the Nile

• A forum for technical exchange of ideas and experiences within water resources, natural resource management, power generation and trade

• Capacity building activities aimed at strengthening the ability of both people and institutions in different water related areas

Water Resource Management

• A mechanism for basin wide exchange of information and prior notification for water resources development

• State-of-the-art technical tools for organizing, storing, analyzing and disseminating data and information collected by NBI programs and projects, including computer based databases with information such as discharge data for sub-basins and watershed, GIS information, biodiversity inventories, stakeholder inventories. The Nile Decision Support System (DSS) tool to facilitate strategic based wide planning and knowledge based policy and decision making. Also interactive CDs and web-based inventories such as the Nile-Information System (Nile-IS).

• Technical support in strengthening national water policy frameworks with a key focus on strengthening the consideration of the trans-boundary dimension.

• Knowledge on the basin’s water resources and monitoring of the basin’s health

• Analysis and scenarios development for sustainable resource management and for planning to maximize development opportunities at basin, sub basin and national levels

• Analytic tools and a shared information system that will enable monitoring and the sustainable management of the basin

• Better understanding and cooperative management of risk for a changing and uncertain climate

Water Resource Development

• Identification of development opportunities focused on power trade and generation, agriculture and river basin management

• Preparation of investment projects which contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction

• Assessing costs and benefits of participation in proposed projects and facilitate agreements on how to share costs and benefits with other beneficiary country.

• Projects implementation support including resource mobilization and preparation of multi-country agreements

• Technical assistance, know-how and expertise in project supervision


Early benefits

• Ability to share and exchange water resource data with the rest of the NBI member countries, following the adoption by the Nile-COM in July 2009, of the formal protocol developed under NBI.

• Use of the Decision Support System (DSS), a Basin-wide planning tool which enables decision makers to select the optimum investment planning options and best water resources management practices at national and regional levels.

• Increased human capacity including Post Graduate training in Integrated Water Resource Management

• Trans-boundary policy frameworks, policies, guidelines, data and information base for water resources management.

• Communities have benefited from various small scale projects. For example, Kayanga water supply system benefiting 10,000 people in Kayanga town, Karagwe district; Bisarwi small holder irrigation dam  providing water for irrigation, livestock and domestic purposes to over 5000 residents

• Provided hydromet equipment in hydro meteorological monitoring stations along Mara River

• Agro forestry projects established in Rulenge and Ngara districts

Future Benefits

• Increased and stable power supply leading to economic growth and better quality of life of citizens

• Framework for trans-boundary Sustainable Joint Management of the Mara River sub-basin, enhancing cooperation with Kenya

• Increased food security and productivity

Indirect benefits

• Ability to overcome associated impacts of climate change that are mostly manifesting through the hydrological cycle. These include floods and droughts that lead to serious water scarcity and food shortage.

• Enhanced Regional cooperation, peace, security and political stability, markets, trade, hence economic growth.

• The annual Nile Basin Football Tournament.

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