Increased population pressure and environmental stressors have amplified research on water quality both locally and globally. In Tanzania, water quality assessment is a mature discipline, with an over four-decade history. In this article, studies on water quality assessment in Tanzania from 2006 through 2016 are reviewed. The approach used is to scan selected publications to gather data and information on types and concentration levels of contaminants measured in surface and ground waters; their status, trends and potential health risks. The aim is to establish research gaps that call for further investigations and factors that hinder such efforts so as to provide insight that can facilitate future studies. Significant outputs were found in terms of study focuses and investigated locations. Lack of analytical facilities, complexity in the interpretation of toxicological data and data management practices represent major setbacks, while land-use practices, sea water intrusion, climate change and biogeochemical features continue to the scale-up threat on surface and ground water quality in the country. It is pragmatic that there is still a gap in research on such subjects as effects of climate change; effects of mixed toxicity of chemicals; risk characterization; analysis of emerging contaminants of concern and development of remediation plans for specific contamination problems. Some strategies towards ameliorating the challenges are suggested. The study puts forwards some recommendations, including the establishment of a National Water Quality Assessment Programme that will provide central water quality descriptions of the nation water resources.
Key words: Water quality assessment, contamination status, analytical challenges, Tanzania.
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