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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The not-so-Great Ruaha and hidden histories of an environmental panic in Tanzania
Author:Walsh, MartinISNI
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies (ISSN 1753-1063)
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:water management
water shortage
river basins
national parks and reserves
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/17531055.2012.669575
Abstract:Water is one of the world's most contested resources, and Africa's river basins are no exception. In December 1993, the Great Ruaha River upstream of Tanzania's Mtera Dam stopped flowing for the first time in living memory. This became a matter of national concern in 1995 when electricity shortages and rationing in Dar es Salaam were blamed by the national power supply company (TANESCO) on the continuing drying-up of the Great Ruaha. Since then different institutions and interest groups have sought to explain the river's increasing seasonality, focusing on resource use in and around its immediate source, the Usangu wetland, and laying the blame on different groups of resource users. In 1998 the core of the wetland (Ihefu) was gazetted as part of a new game reserve, and fishermen and livestock keepers were forcibly removed. Increasing government concern over power shortages culminated in the mass expulsion in 2006-2007 of livestock keepers and their cattle from Usangu and Mbarali District, large parts of which were to be incorporated in an expanded Ruaha National Park. This was the largest eviction of its kind in recent Tanzanian history, widely condemned by NGOs and in the national and international media. This article examines in detail the development of the environmental panic and events which led to this eviction, highlighting the behind-the-scenes role played by actors and interests in the public and private sectors in fostering the panic and its controversial outcome. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]