Customary Laws For Access To And Management Of Drinking Water In Tanzania
For several decades before 1990, management of water resources in most Sub-Sahara African (SSA) countries was the responsibility of central governments. Unfortunately, many large water and other developmental projects that were established and managed by most SSA central governments failed; mainly due to lack of community participation in planning and implementing such projects.1 In the 1990’s, SSA governments sought to decentralise and devolve administrative and legislative powers to local governments in order to increase the efficiency and participation of local communities in natural resource management.
Although the theoretical advantages of community management have been convincing and the need for devolution policies strong, the actual outcomes of devolution programs in different sectors and countries have been mixed.2 Experience has shown that decentralisation is faced with major challenges, including interest capture by local elites, over-exploitation of natural resources driven by the need to create local revenues, inadequate financing (taxation), arbitrarily imposed fees and levies, and lack of human resource capacity at the local level to plan, manage and implement
developmental activities and policies.