Maasai Education Poverty HIV/Aids Water FGM HumanRights/ GoodGovernance Cultural Citizenship Gender Issues






Maasai Steppe is an arid area, which is deficient in water supplies because of the warm to hot and dry climates. The only semi permanent streams in the area are found in the high rainfall forests of Ngorongoro highlands. Considering the limited existing surface water sources, the Maasai Steppe water demand has to be supplemented by supplies from Sub-surveys sources, mainly boreholes ranging from shallow to medium depths. Dams are also considerable.

Pastoralists have to walk their livestock long distances particularly in the dry season to look for surface water. Water for human use has also to be sought from long-distances. It is on the record the now defunct Maasai Range Development Commission, which was in operation between 1968 an 1980 had carried out a hydrological survey of all Maasai Districts (Simanjiro District included) wiht a view to sinking bore-holes and shallow wells but nothing had materialised by the time the Commission wound-up its activities.

The National water policy was launched in 1971 with an objective of providing adequate clean and safe domestic water supply within a distance of 400 metres reach of every household. The programme however has not succeeded after the targeted period of implementation expired in 1991. The clear reason given like shortage of funds, among other factors. According to the 1988 National Population Census, the Maasai Steppe population figures (Simanjiro, Kiteto, Monduli, Ngorongoro) revealed 305,427 inhabitants. However, according to the 2002 Census, the four Maasai Districts´ population now stands at 611,446 (The United Republic of Tanzania, Population and Housing Census 2002). It is important to be noted that the rapid population increase in pastoralist districts in the Maasai Steppe is influenced by fast growing immigration movements from other parts of the country as there is still enough space of land and opportunities which could be utilized for economic undertaking.

Also livestock census showed that within the Massai Steppe, there were 956,541 cattle, 1,024,156 small stocks (sheeps and goats) and 51,897 donkeys (source-National Livestock Census 1994). The construction of water supply systems in the Maasai Steppe require sophisticated and special equipment that can not be locally obtained. Adequate financing is needed but it has not been possible to secure such funds for the so much needed water development programme.

As much as "water is life" funds should whenever possible be made available for both domestic and livestock within the Maasai Steppe as water demand is in absolute shortage. Normally, allocation of funds by the Government are insufficient due to much load over the state responsabilities.