, Volume 61, Issue 2, pp 155–162 | Cite as

Managing the water of Kilimanjaro: Water, peasants, and hydropower development

  • Haakon Lein


The furrow irrigation systems of Kilimanjaro were first described by European explorers coming to the area by the end of the 19th century. Although being impressed, the German and later the British colonial powers soon came to see the system as wasteful and in need of improvement. Despite several attempts to control water use among the ‘natives’ in the highlands, the furrow system has remained fairly intact and still plays a key role in the local farming systems.

However, the utilisation of available water resources is still a highly controversial political issue and in this paper three major challenges to traditional water use are discussed: (i) hydropower development, (ii) construction of large-scale irrigation projects, and (iii) implementation of economic and institutional reforms. All this has led to renewed and intensified conflicts over the use of water on Kilimanjaro as well as in the Pangani river.

At one level, the situation can be described as a conflict over access to a scarce resource. However, beyond this perception, the controversies over water are also based on more fundamental ideological conflicts and competing ways of thinking about both development and water management.

economic reforms hydropower irrigation Kilimanjaro Pangani Tanzania water management 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ampiah K., 1996: Japanese aid to Tanzania: a study of the political marketing of Japan in Africa. African Affairs 95: 107–124.Google Scholar
  2. BACAS 1998: Review of Kikafu Chini irrigation project in Moshi. Report for Royal Norwegian Embassy. Bureau for Agricultural Consultancy and Advisory Service, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Morogoro.Google Scholar
  3. Development Today, 1995: Conflicts over Pangani dampen enthusiasm for hydro power in Tanzania. 5 12/13. Oslo.Google Scholar
  4. Gillingham M. E., 1997: Gaining access to water: Indigenous irrigation on Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. PhD thesis. Emmanuel College, Cambridge University.Google Scholar
  5. Gray R. F., 1963: The Sonjo of Tanzania: an anthropological study of an irrigation-based society. Oxford University Press, London.Google Scholar
  6. Griffiths A. W. M., 1936: Chagga land tenure report. Moshi District.Google Scholar
  7. Grove A., 1993: Water use by the Chagga on Kilimanjaro. African Affairs 92: 431–448.Google Scholar
  8. Halcrow and Partners 1962: Report on the Development of the Pangani River Basin. Vol. 1-General report. Prepared for Govern-ment of Tanganyika, Ministry of Agriculture by Sir William Halcrow and Partners.Google Scholar
  9. Ikegami K., 1994: The traditional agrosilvipastoral complex system in the Kilimanjaro region, and its implications for the Japanese-assisted Lower Moshi Irrigation Project. African Study Monographs 15 (4): 189–209.Google Scholar
  10. Illiffe J., 1979: A modern history of Tanganyika. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  11. JICA 1977: Kilimanjaro region integrated development plan. Sum-mary report. Japan International Cooperation Agency.Google Scholar
  12. JICA 1980: Feasibility report on Lower Moshi Agricultural Develop-ment Project. Japan International Cooperation Agency.Google Scholar
  13. JICA 1983: Feasibility study on the Mkomazi Valley area irrigation development project. Main report. Japan International Coopera-tion AgencyGoogle Scholar
  14. Lein H., 2002: Migration, irrigation and land use changes in the lowlands of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. In Ngana O. J. (ed. ), Water Resources Management, the case of Pangani river basin. Issues and approaches. pp. 28–38. Dar es Salaam University Press, Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  15. Masao F. T., 1974: The irrigation system in Uchagga: an ethno-historical approach. Tanzania Notes and records 75: 1–8.Google Scholar
  16. Moore S. F., 1986: Social fact and fabrications. 'Customary 'law on Kilimanjaro 1880–1980. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  17. Mujwahuzi M. R., 2001: Water use con. icts in the Pangani Basin. In: Ngana O. J. (ed. ), Water resources management, in the Pangani river basin. Challenges and opportunities. pp. 128–137. Dar es Salaam University Press. Dar es SalaamGoogle Scholar
  18. Mung'ong'o C., 1997: Pangani dam versus the people. In Usher A.D. (ed. ), Dams as aid, A political anatomy of nordic development thinking. pp. 105–118. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  19. Mwita D. M., 1975: Rights in respect of water in Tanganyika. LLM degree thesis. University of Dar es Salaaam.Google Scholar
  20. Nippon Koei and Pasco International 1998: The feasibility study on lower moshi integrated agriculture and rural development project in republic of tanzania. Japan International Cooperation Agency and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, United Republic of Tanzania.Google Scholar
  21. Pike A. G., 1965: Kilimanjaro and the furrow system. Tanganyika Notes and Records 65, 95–96.Google Scholar
  22. Reed-Erichsen M., 2003: Negotiation over water rights. The process of determining water allocation between farmers and estates in the context of revitalisation of co. ee producing estates in Kilimanjaro region Tanzania. Cand. polit thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim.Google Scholar
  23. Rudengren J., 1981: Peasants by preference?Socio-economic and environmental aspects of rural development in Tanzania. Doctoral thesis. Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Eco-nomics, Stockholm.Google Scholar
  24. Schroeder R.A., 1999: Geographies of environmental intervention in Africa. Progress in Human Geography 23 (3): 359–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Spear T., 1997: Mountain farmers. Moral economies of land and agricultural development in Arusha and Meru. James Curry, Oxford.Google Scholar
  26. Tagseth M., 2002: Local practices and changes in farmer-managed irrigation in the Himo catchment, Kilimanjaro. In: Ngana O. J (ed. ), Water resources management, the case of Pangani river basin. Issues and approaches. pp. 48–63. Dar es Salaam University Press, Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  27. Teale E.O. and Gillman C., 1935: Report on the investigation of the proper control of water: in the Northern Province of Tanganyika Territory, 1934. Government Printer, Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  28. UNDP/FAO 1969: Survey and plan for irrigation development in the Pangani and wami river basins. United Republic of Tanzania and United Nations Development Programme and Food and Agricul-ture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.Google Scholar
  29. United Republic of Tanzania 1974: Water Utilization (Control and Regulation) Act, 1974 (No. 42). Dar es Salaam UnitedGoogle Scholar
  30. Republic of Tanzania 1977a: Water Master Plan. Kilimanjaro region. Main Report, Vol. 1. Ministry of Water Energy and Minerals and Japan International Cooperation Agency.Google Scholar
  31. United Republic of Tanzania 1977b: Water Master Plan. Kilimanjaro region. Technical report: Irrigation, Vol. 5. Ministry of Water Energy and Minerals and Japan International Cooperation Agency.Google Scholar
  32. United Republic of Tanzania 1981: Water Utilization (Control And Regulation) Act (Amdt.)1981 (No. 10). Dar Es Salaam.Google Scholar
  33. United Republic of Tanzania 1994a: Water Utilization (General) (Amendment)Regulations, 1994. Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  34. United Republic of Tanzania 1994b: The national irrigation development plan. Ministry of Agriculture, Agriculture and Livestock Division, Irrigation Department, Dares Salaam.Google Scholar
  35. Usher A. D., 1997: Pangani Power struggle. Nordic Dam Builders on a Tanzania river. In: Usher, A. D. (ed.), Dams as aid. A political anatomy of Nordic development Thinking. pp. 119–132. Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  36. Wilson M., 1947: Report of the Arusha-Moshi Lands Commission. Government Printer, Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  37. World Bank 1996:Tanzania river basin management and smallholder irrigation improvement project. Staff appraisal report No. 15122-Ta. The World Bank, Agriculture and Environment Operations, East Africa Department.Google Scholar
  38. World Bank 2001: Tanzania at the turn of the century. From reforms to sustained growth and poverty reduction. Government of the United Republic of Tanzania and The World Bank. Washington DC.Google Scholar
  39. Yoshida M., 1985: Traditional furrow irrigation systems in the south Pare mountain area of Tanzania. In: Mascarenhas A., Ngana J. and Yoshida, M. (eds), Opportunities for irrigation development in Tanzania. JRP series 52. pp. 33–71. Institute of Developing Economies, Tokyo.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haakon Lein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyNorway (

Personalised recommendations