The common phrase goes, “Water is Life” while another, from Samuel Taylor’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner goes, “Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop for man to drink”.
These two phrases seem to have informed the National Resistance Movement’s manifesto prioritization, with focus on ensuring that there is access to safe, clean water and improved sanitation.
This, the NRM planned to do by increasing safe water coverage in both urban and rural areas.
In the area of access to safe and clean water, the NRM manifesto prioritises increased access to clean and safe water from 65 to 79 % in rural areas and from 72 to 100% in urban areas by 2021.
President Yoweri Museveni’s government aims at ensuring that every village in Uganda can easily access safe and clean water. Once that is achieved, water-borne diseases such as typhoid will be done away with.
In regards to sanitation, the target is to increase access to improved sanitation in rural areas from the current 77% to 79% and from 84 to 100% in urban areas by the 2021.
The NRM pledged to invest in water for production infrastructure to boost commercial agriculture and industrial activities, with emphasis on construction of large and small scale water schemes for irrigation, livestock and rural industries.
The target is to increase cumulative storage from 27.8 million cubic metres to 55 million cubic metres by 2019/20. The government also plans to pump water from large reservoirs to a high point and then extend it by gravity to reach more areas so that water is brought nearer to the users for home consumption, irrigation, livestock and industrial use.
In fulfillment of this commitment, the NRM government has made progress in the following areas.
Rural water coverage increased from 68% to 70%, with 36,614 villages estimated to have been served with safe water countrywide, while sanitation coverage has increased from 79% to 80%.
A total of 2,267 boreholes (hand pumps and production wells) have been constructed in the last two years countrywide both under the water ministry and the district water and sanitation conditional grant.
Similarly, 3,0002 boreholes have been rehabilitated while the government has also constructed Lirima Gravity Flow scheme phase l in Manafwa district serving 42,590 people in the sub counties of Bubutu, Butiri and Bumbo. Nyarwodho gravity flow scheme (phase 1) in Nebbi district has already been constructed and is currently serving 29,800 people covering the sub-counties of Alwi, Nyaravur and Kuchwinyi.
Still within Nebbi, the Wadelai water supply system has been completed and it is serving up to 7,000 people.
Buboko-Bukholi water supply system in the water stressed Namayingo district has been constructed and serves 22,470 people.
In the same spirit, the government has also constructed 35 pilot solar powered mini piped systems across the country. Bukwo Gravity Flow Scheme phase 1 in Bukwo district and Bududa Gravity Flow Scheme have also been constructed.
In Butebo district, the Buteebo Health Centre IV water supply system is up and running.
The safe water coverage in urban areas has stagnated at 71% due to rapid population growth and creation of 37 new town council’s whereas the sanitation in urban areas has increased from 79% to 80%.
A total of 22 piped water supply and sanitation systems have been constructed across the country.
Of course there might be some slight delays here and there but surely, the NRM government is walking the right path of ensuring each every Ugandan has clean and safe water wherever they might be.