Water Allocation Planning for the Lower Mara River Basin in Tanzania


This case study explores the process facilitated by USAID's Sustainable Water Partnership to develop the water allocation plan (WAP) for the Mara River Catchment in Tanzania. It addresses threats to water security in the catchment by providing guidance about how available water should be distributed to individual users through the issuance of water permits. When available water is insufficient to meet demand, the allocation plan prioritizes allocations to ensure sustainable development of the river basin. The plan contains multiple options for allocating water depending on water availability and demand.

Included in the brief are key strategies that can be used to ensure the development and implementation of such plans, such as: 

  • Maintain stakeholder engagement throughout the development process
  • Establish and follow government guidelines for the allocation plan
  • Engage stakeholders in the development of potential scenarios for robust decision making
  • Perform frequent monitoring and reporting of river flows and permit compliance of water users
  • Update the water allocation plan every 5 years per guidelines, or as deemed necessary based on new flow and water abstraction data, and when conditions in the basin significantly change.