Makonde Plateau Water Supply Scheme


The Makonde Plateau Water Supply Scheme will upgrade and rehabilitate water treatment and distribution systems to supply 500,000 people. In an earlier phase of the project, CRIDF implemented a bulk supply system that improved supply. The project investments are intended to improve social development and kick-start growth in the local economy, encourage cross-border economic activities and further develop a growing transport corridor in the region.

Investment request

  • Capital investment of US$13–15 million (2015 prices) is expected for the project.
  • CRIDF is providing funds up to £2 million.
  • CRIDF has undertaken a feasibility study and a series of supporting studies, including an institutional strengthening study, building on previous work conducted by GIZ.
  • The key initial works (immediate measures) are to:
    1. Increase production capacity so that supply can be centred at a single source. This will reduce pumping costs because of a higher altitude and central location.
    2. Replace a portion of the rising main.
    3. Carry out refurbishment work at the treatment plant.

Main sponsor(s)

The Makonde Water Supply and Sanitation Authority (MWSSA) and community-owned water supply organisations.

Key facts

Water infrastructure type

Rural water, sanitation and hygiene, and irrigation

Country(ies), location

Tanzania, Mozambique

Transboundary basin

Ruvuma River Basin

Development impact

  • Increased water access
  • Improved food and income security
  • Improved institutional capacity and financial standing of the utility and community-owned scheme

Financing requirement

Capital expenditure

£10–13 million [US$13–15 million (2015 prices)]

£2 million already secured from CRIDF (£650,000 spent during the first phase of CRIDF; balance to be spent before March 2020).

Project preparation


  • MWSSA currently serves approximately 56,000 households, which will benefit greatly from reliable access to water supply infrastructure.
  • MWSSA is a ‘category C’ utility and as such receives a recurrent subsidy from the Government of Tanzania to cover part of its operation and management costs.
  • In the target area of the project, 40% of settlements receive an intermittent water supply, 49% are connected but receive no supply and 11% are not connected.
  • Less than half of the total population is presently served by the system, and operation and maintenance is not adequate in terms of procedures, coordination and quality. The MWSSA’s system is supplied from six sources, the Mitema well field in the Mambi valley, Mkunya springs, Mahuta springs, Tandahimba boreholes, Chiwambo boreholes and Mnyawi boreholes.
  • The system contains 874 km of pipe and 142 tanks. The service area covers about 3,685 km².
  • Poor site infrastructure.
  • High non-revenue water usage, mainly due to old infrastructure that impacts the system reliability and ultimately the revenue.
  • Poor cost recovery.
  • Low reliability of supply.
  • Complex institutional arrangements.
  • Low tariffs.
  • A high proportion of low-income households.
  • High pumping heads.
  • Remoteness of the area.
  • A continuous and secure supply of water contributes to improved social benefits such as sanitation and hygiene, health and education.
  • Communities will have access to clean water and further support for cashew tree cultivation, which is the key activity supporting livelihoods in the area.
  • The project investments are intended to improve social development and kick-start growth in the local economy, sowing seeds for development that will encourage cross-border economic activities – further developing a growing transport corridor in the region.
  • By implementing small-scale infrastructure for livelihoods and building the institutional capacity of MWSSA and community-owned water supply organisations to conduct transboundary integrated water resource management, food and income security will be increased for the poorest and most vulnerable.
  • Over time, water supply-driven growth will allow opportunities for people to rise into economic activities and out of extreme poverty.

A full economic appraisal of the project has been undertaken in which both the financial aspects of the project and economic externalities were incorporated into the analysis. The positive economic impacts of the project are included as quantifiable benefits including: time savings, health improvements and broader economic multiplier impacts due to improved water reticulation infrastructure. A summary of the economic indicators (at a 3.5% discount rate) are as follows:

  • Economic net present value – £67.11 million.
  • Economic internal rate of return – 27.48%.
  • Cost–benefit ratio – 3.94 indicating a positive net social return to the project.
  • Economic analysis shows that increased production, reduced physical losses, improved billing and collection, and extension of supply to more customers will reduce the operations and management costs of producing water from over TZS500/m3 to about TZS450/m3.