Hima Cement has given Shs25 million to help the local communities in Kasese District to improve the management of water resources and avert natural disasters in the area.
The money to be used in a one-year project is aimed at protecting the River Mubuku catchment area in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature and Kasese District Local Government.
Like most rivers in the country, River Mubuku’s banks have suffered massive degradation due to encroachment, deforestation, cultivation, animal grazing and human settlement. There is also increased solid waste disposal into the river.
The encroachment has in some river sections obstructed its flow, with unsustainable quarrying and sand mining being singled out as major causes of flooding in the mountainous district. Consequently, the river bursts its banks at the onset of the rainy seasons.
Despite the hazards, officials say, river Mobuku has the potential to supply water to residents and sustaining a small scale hydropower development and irrigation plant. This is the intervention that Hima, WWF Uganda, and Kasese District Local Government aim to achieve in the new project.
“We aim to increase community awareness and participation in catchment management programmes such as restoration of degraded areas including river banks, forests and wetlands,” Hima community relations officer Joseph Kabaseke said in a recent press release.
He explained that this will improve the rural livelihoods through income generation received through payments for eco-system services thereby reducing poverty among the residents. “This partnership will also increase flow reliability even in dry seasons and realize the benefits of good upstream catchment management and community participation in hydro power generation to the communities,” Mr Kabaseke said.