Water Security and Local People Sensitivity to Climate Variability and Change Among Coastal Communities in Zanzibar

  •  Makame Makame    
  •  Richard Y.M. Kangalawe    


This paper presents one part of a larger, multidimensional study on the vulnerability of Zanzibar coastal communities to climate change and other stressors, focusing on water insecurity in two sites on the Zanzibar coast. Water security is composed of three components, namely water availability, water accessibility and the quality of available water. Findings from the study showed that water from wells is the major source of household water since tap water supply is often erratic. Farming systems are completely rain-fed, while some livestock owners use coral caves as the main source of water for their animals. Water quality is a major challenge along the coast as the majority of wells and coral caves in the study sites contain hard water with varying levels of salinity. A diversity of physical and social factors such as variability in water supply infrastructure, settlement structure, poverty, geology and geohydrology, variability in supply and poor water resource management adversely interact with local climate phenomena such as sea level rise, salt water incursion and drought to intensify water insecurity along the Zanzibar coast. Among the policy options to address these challenges would be to promote rainwater harvesting and increased utilisation of underground water for irrigation in the dry areas in order to increase agricultural production and reduce poverty.

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