Q&A – 1 May 2023

Required depth of a water well

Due to an inconsistent supply of water by the authority in my town, I decided to hand-dig a water well within my plot in order to get a reliable source of water for domestic consumption. In digging the water well, I was fortunately able to reach the water table within just a depth of ten meters. I have now been stopped by the town council officials from using my well water from my water well on the ground that the well is very shallow and the water cannot be used for human consumption. This stop order does not make sense to me at all. Is there any required depth of such a water well? Why should I be compelled to dig a deep water well if I have been able to reach the water table within a few meters? Please guide me.
BD, Mtwara

Depth of a water well and quality of well water is governed by the Water Resources Management (Water Well Quality Monitoring) Regulations, 2018 (Government Notice No.155 of 2018). The Regulations do not prescribe specific depth of water well required for supply of water for personal domestic or public consumption. However, for the purpose of water quality, a water well whose depth does not exceed 15 meters is regarded under the Regulations as shallow water well. In urban areas, well water from a shallow water well (water well whose depth does not exceed 15 meters) may be deemed unfit for human consumption depending on the location of the well and possibility of contamination of water from the well with sewage and other possible causes of water pollution. It is not mandatory that in towns the depth of water well should exceed 15 meters but where the depth of the well does not exceed 15 meters, there is possibility of water being contaminated which contamination may cause the well water to be unfit for human consumption.

The possibility of contamination of water well in urban areas depends on the population density of the area where the well is located, distance from the well to the sewage system, the extent of the pollution of the areas generally and other factors to be considered in assessing the possibility of well water pollution. In rural areas, unless it is proved otherwise, water from wells are presumed to be safe for human consumption even if the depth of the water well does not exceed 15 meters. The presumption of safety of well water in the wells dug in the villages is based on the low level of pollution of village lands which makes the possibility of contamination of water in the wells very remote.

In order to be able to legally resume the use of water from your water well, we advise you to register your water well, seek and obtain a certificate of water quality test to prove that even though your well is located in town and its depth does not exceed 15 meters, water from it is safe for human consumption. Water use permit and a certificate of water quality test will give you the mandate to resume the use of your well water with confidence of its safety.

The 15 meters’ rule is a general rule of presumption of well water safety. However, safety of well water can be proved by other ways such as a certificate of water quality test issued by a competent authority certifying that the well produces safe water for human consumption. Once you have the water quality test certificate, the well water is taken to be safe for human consumption even if the well is located in an urban area where the prescribed depth of water well is not 15 meters.

Repayment of student’s loan

I was enrolled at a university for a three year program leading to a bachelor’s degree but was unable to graduate as I was discontinued in the third year for failure to attain the required GPA. In order to sustain a living, I decided to start a small business as a hawker which I have been doing for two years now with an income of about TZS 200,000 per month. I would like to know if a discontinued student like me or dropout student is obliged to repay their student’s loan advanced to me by the Higher Learning Students Loan Board bearing in mind that my income as a self-employed beneficiary is only about TZS 200,000 per month. Please guide me.
FR, Mbeya

Section 19 of the Higher Education Students’ Loans Board Act, 2004 as amended by Acts No 17 of 2007 and Act No 13 of 2016 imposes on all beneficiaries an obligation to repay the loan regardless of whether the beneficiary completed her/his studies for which the loan was advanced or she/he dropped from the college or was terminated from studies for whatever cause.

Every beneficiary of the student’s loan has to commence repayment of the loan after 2 years upon completion or termination of studies. Section 19(7) of the Act requires self-employed beneficiaries to engage with the Loans Board to know the amount they owe the Government and be updated on the amount of loan outstanding and payment plan.

The minimum amount of monthly installment prescribed for self-employed beneficiaries like you is TZS 100,000 or 10 percent of the taxable income, whichever amount is greater. Since your average income is TZS 200,000 you will have to pay TZS 100,000 which is the minimum amount prescribed under our law. Unfortunately, the law is inconsiderate of beneficiaries like you who are willing to repay their loans but cannot afford the minimum amount of monthly installments. Maybe the policy makers will consider this genuine concern you have raised, but remember that your repayment ensures the scheme continues and is sustainable.