Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in Anti-Corruption court dock Ministry of Trade PS Geraldine Ssali in dock at the Anti-Corruption

Ensure all Ugandans access clean water

Ensure all Ugandans access clean water

During an event in Tororo last Friday, Water and Environment minister Sam Cheptoris made remarks that must be welcomed by many people in this country, especially those in the rural areas. The minister gave a directive that a jerrycan of water at any public stand pipe erected by National Water and Sewerage Cooperation, should cost not more than Shs50.
The residents of the two trading centres - Akapa and Malawa - where the minister commissioned public stand taps were visibly excited and relieved too. If this message could be taken to the residents using public taps all over the country, it would be met with the same reaction.
This is because safe and clean water is not accessible to all. According to WaterAid, an international organisation looking to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, eight million people in Uganda do not have clean water.
This is caused by various factors, among which is the high cost of water. In Akapa and Malawa, residents have been paying Shs200 for a jerrycan of water, an amount for which they should have been getting four jerrycans. In parts of the country, the amount charged has been as much as Shs1,000, especially during the dry season. Residents are thus forced to use the little they can get for urgent needs. They then find other means, such as reusing water or fetching from sources that are not clean.
According to a report by World Bank titled “Water Supply and Sanitation in Uganda”, the country had been able to provide 91 per cent of the urban population with water in 2008. Rural coverage stood at 65 per cent.
The country’s projections were to cover the urban areas up to 100 per cent and rural areas up to 77 per cent by 2015. Stories in the media about poor sanitation and lack of clean water, or intermittent provision, show that we are yet to deliver safe water to everyone constantly.
This means that people are forced to look for alternative sources that are likely contaminated, which leads to diseases such as dysentery and cholera. Lack of clean water also contributes to the death of children (diarrhoea is still one of the leading causes of death in children in Uganda).
Minister Cheptoris should, therefore, be applauded for giving that directive but more needs to be done to ensure the country has access to one of the most important things needed to live – safe and clean water.

The issue: Access to clean water
Our view: Lack of clean water also contributes to the death of children (diarrhoea is still one of the leading causes of death in children in Uganda).Minister Cheptoris should, therefore, be applauded for giving that directive but more needs to be done to ensure the country has access to one of the most important things needed to live – safe and clean water.