Water Coverage: NWSC and its line ministry should be commended

The Water and Environment sector is key in the development of our economy because it provides a soft landing ground to all other sectors by way of offering nearly all inputs in the production processes. Human livelihood entirely depends on Water and Environment.

Therefore, without water and environment, there would be no meaningful life! Provision of clean water for Ugandans is one of the pressing needs for the government because a considerable number of people are still fetching water from rivers, ponds and other unprotected wells which exposes our people to diseases such as bilharziasis, diarrhea, typhoid and others diseases.

During the 2016 general election campaigns, President Museveni traversed all parts of the country to mobilize and canvas votes for his re-election with a manifesto that detailed what the NRM government would do for Ugandans if re-elected.

I was amazed to learn during the Manifesto Week 2019, held at Office of the President that Water and Environment is one of the sectors with tremendous achievements as per the manifesto.

Overall, through the tireless efforts by Ministry of Water and Environment in collaboration with National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), the sector has so far achieved 75% of manifesto implementation because of the many strides so far made most especially in regard to rural water coverage which has increased from 67% in June 2016 to 70% in June 2018 and now at 71% as of April 2019.

In terms of village coverage, a total of 57,974 villages in 2018 had at least one safe water source. As of today, it has gone to 58,500 villages.

The increment is as a result of the fulfillment of the NRM Manifesto commitments in regard to rural water supply.

Government also promised to upgrade water supply from ordinary borehole hand pump into solar-pumped piped water supply schemes to reduce on the repair and maintenance costs.

So far, all 35 selected rural growth centers’ have been done (100%).

On the pledge to serve water stressed areas, the ministry has constructed appropriate systems and this has since been rolled out to other regions like Karamoja and 24 others.

Out of the annual target of drilling 1,000 boreholes per year, a total of 663 boreholes have so far been drilled annually and this reflects 64%.

This has greatly increased access to safe water in rural areas. In urban areas, the manifesto talked of provision of piped water in all towns and urban centers.

This indeed has increased to 77% from 71% in 2016 with the number of towns under National Water and Sewerage Corporation increasing from 112 in 2016 to 238 in 2019.

The number of piped schemes outside NWSC has also increased to 259 from 115 in 2016.

On rehabilitation of old dams and valley tanks in Teso sub region and the rest of the cattle corridor areas, Ministry of Water and Environment has jointly with Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and Ministry of Works and Transport undertook assessment of the facilities and following the findings and recommendations, rehabilitation works are going on using the regionally based equipment.

The NRM Manifesto committed to invest in water for production infrastructure to boost commercial agriculture and industrial activities to address the increasing effects of climate change.

The emphasis is on construction of large and small scale water schemes for irrigation, livestock and rural industries.

The manifesto target is to realize a built cumulative storage capacity of 55 Million Cubic Metres (MCM) by 2020.

The performance as at June 2018 was 39.2 MCM (78%) but is projected to reach over 43 MCM by end of this Financial Year.

This means that in a short period of time, water will be extended up to the common person down in Kotido.

Trekking long distances in-search of water will be history. At the current pace, the Ministry of Water and Environment in collaboration with National Water and Sewerage Corporation will achieve over 90% of the manifesto in the water docket before the 2021 elections.

Written by Charles Achoda a Communications Assistant at Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC), Ministry of ICT and National Guidance