Water supply and sanitation in Tanzania has been characterised by decreasing access to improved water sources in the 2000s (especially in urban areas), steady access to some form of sanitation (around 93 percent since the 1990s), intermittent water supplies, and generally low quality of service.
Many utilities are barely able to cover their operation and maintenance costs through revenues because of low tariffs and poor efficiency. There are significant regional differences, with the best performing utilities being Arusha, Moshi, and Tanga.
The government of Tanzania has embarked on a major sector reform process since 2002. An ambitious National Water Sector Development Strategy that promotes integrated water resources management and the development of urban and rural water supply was adopted in 2006.
Decentralization has meant that responsibility for water and sanitation service provision has shifted to local government authorities and is carried out by 20 urban utilities and about 100 district utilities, as well as by Community Owned Water Supply Organizations in rural areas.
These reforms have been backed by a significant increase of the budget starting in 2006, when the water sector was included among the priority sectors of the National Strategy for Growth and Reduction of Poverty MKUKUTA.
The Tanzanian water sector remains heavily dependent on external donors, with 88 percent of the available funds being provided by external donor organizations. Results have been mixed.
For example, a report by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit noted that “despite heavy investments brought in by the World Bank and the European Union, (the utility serving Dar es Salaam) has remained one of the worst performing water entities in Tanzania.”