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Ufipa Plateau Zone

The Ufipa Plateau zone lies between the two wings of the rift valley formed by lakes Rukwa and Tanganyika. It covers large parts of Momba DC, Kalambo DC, Sumbawanga DC, Sumbawanga MC, and Nkasi DC. The plateau forms the western edge of the basin, an area which is densely populated, highly productive, and characterized by intensive land use for both subsistence farming and livestock keeping. The topography comprises gentle plains with moderately slopping hills and plateau lying at an altitude between 1,000 to 2,400m above sea level. The plateau is mostly grassland and considered to be one of the most productive areas in the basin with good fertile ferralitic soils and reliable rainfall ranging between 800 to 1,200 mm. Major crops grown include maize, finger millet, beans, and groundnuts. Other socioeconomic activities include fishing and mining of coal and gemstones. The zone is predominantly rural and is characterized by poor socioeconomic infrastructure.

Agriculture is the most important socioeconomic activity employing about 87% of the population in the zone. Other activities include Livestock keeping, Fishing, and small business. Most of the agriculture in the zone is rainfed with little small scale irrigation taking place in a few isolated traditional irrigation schemes.
Domestic water supply and irrigation are the major water uses in the zone. Most of the agriculture carried out is subsistence and rainfed with only a few irrigation schemes scattered in different parts of the zone. Domestic water needs for Sumbawanga MC and other smaller urban areas of Tunduma, Namanyere, Laela, and Chala are significant and are expected to rise as the urban population continues to grow. Industrial water use is minimal due to the absence of any major industries in the area. The few small scale industries located in Sumbawanga MC consume negligible amounts of water compared to other water uses in the zone. Generally, the zone doesn’t experience serious water scarcity problems compared to other zones in the basin due to the low level of water-intensive socioeconomic activities in the area.

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Lake Rukwa Basin Facts:

Coverage: Mbeya, Rukwa, Katavi, small parts of Tabora and Singida
Total Area:
88,000 km2.:
25C to 30C.:
Annual mean rainfall:
2.2 million:


Policy and Laws

The law that governs the management of water in the aspects of utilisation in the country can be traced way back during the colonial rule; under the German and the British rule.

The last Ordinance before independence was No. 3 of 1959, which was repealed by the Act no. 42 of 1974 Water Utilisation (Control and Regulation) and its subsequent amendments Act No. 10 of 1981, Act No. 17 of 1989 and Act No. 8 of 1997.

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