BasinFacts

The Rufiji Basin covers an area of 177420 square kilometers (about 20% of Tanzania). The river drains into the Indian Ocean. The basin is situated between Longitudes 330 55' E and 390 25' E and between Latitudes 50 35' S and 100 45' S. The altitude of the basin rises from 0 meters above mean sea level (mamsl) at the Indian Ocean to above 2400 mamsl in the highlands in Mbeya Region.


The land use in the basin includes agriculture, mining, forestry, livestock keeping, a

nd fishing, wild life, navigation and human settlements.

The Rufiji Basin comprises of four major rivers namely:-

(i) The Great Ruaha River - 83979 km2
(ii) The Kilombero River - 39990 km2
(iii) The Luwegu River - 26300 km2
(iv) The Rufiji (lower part of main river) - 27160 km2

The Rufiji River can have maximum flows of up to 14,000 m 3 /sec and minimum flows of about 50 m 3 /sec in the lower catchment. It has been observed that of the total annual flow about 65% to 80% passes in the wet season at any one given point (5-5½ months). There is quite some potential for developing groundwater in almost all sub-basins. Pollution of the natural waters of the Rufiji Basin is low. The climate of the basin is generally tropical. Rainfall varies from 250 mm to 2000mm per annum. Temperatures are quite varied too.

Population

According to the 2002 National Census results about 1,400,000 people currently live in the Rufiji basin.

Districts covered by the Rufiji River Basin and their major rivers.

The significance of Rufiji Basin
The Rufiji Basin is endowed with a number of virtues, namely; Four National Parks ( Kitulo, Ruaha, Mikumi and Udzungwa), good a big game reserves, (Selous, Rungwa, Usangu, Mpanga/Kipengere, Lunda etc), about 82 forest reserves in the Rufiji Basin covering a total of 23200 km 2 , some mining in Mbeya, Iringa and Morogoro Regions, livestock keeping, and tourism (including eco-tourism) attractions all over the basin including, Rufiji Delta, the coast line and in Mafia Island. In this basin we also find some of the very specific biodiversity. The Kihansi River falls Gorge is the home of some plant species and the famous Kihansi Golden Toad are found only here.

 

District
Region
Major River(s)
Mayoni
Singida
Kisigo
Dodoma (Urban)
Dodoma
Kisigo (Bubu)
Dodoma (Rural)
Dodoma
Kisigo (Bubu/Fufu)
Mpwapwa
Dodoma
Great Ruaha, Mwega
Mbeya (Rural)
Mbeya
Mkoji
Mbeya (urban)
Mbeya
Gwiri
Mbarali
Mbeya
Great Ruaha, Mbarali, Halali, Kimani, Ndembera, Chimala, Mkoji, Kimbi
Makete
Iringa
Great Ruaha, Kimani, Chimala
Njombe
Iringa
Mbarali, Halali, Kilombero, Ruhudji, Mnyera, Mpanga
Mufindi
Iringa
Little Ruaha, Kilombero, Kigogo, Ruaha, Kihansi
Iringa (Rural)
Iringa
Little Ruaha, Lukosi, Great Ruaha
Iringa (Urban)
Iringa
Little Ruaha
Kilosa
Morogoro
Greate Ruaha, Mikumi
Kilombero
Morogoro
Kilombero, Furua, Kihansi, Lumeno
Morogoro (Rural)
Morogoro
Great Ruaha
Ulanga
Morogoro
Luhombero
Kisarawe
Pwani
Rufiji, Ruhoi
Rufiji
Pwani
Rufiji River
Liwale
Lindi
Luwegu, Rufiji, Lihangwa
Songea (Rural)
Ruvuma
Luwegu
unduru
Ruvuma
Mbarangudu
The basin is characterised by many wetlands both in the highlands and the lowlands. The major wetlands are the Utengule in the Great Ruaha and the Kibasila in the Kilombero.

Selected Basin Maps

 

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