What you need to know:
- he regulatory and governance framework for the water sector in Uganda is governed by a number of laws and statutory instruments that are applicable to the regulation of the water sub-sector.
At the end of November last year, the United Nations (UN) posted on its X platform highlighting that: “Clean water is not a privilege, but rather a human right.”
In the same post, the UN further said: “Those left behind need to be first. Being forced to choose between your basic needs is not an option. No individual or group should be denied access to safe drinking water and sanitation because they cannot afford to pay.”
Access to clean piped water is part of those basic standards without which people cannot live in dignity as human beings. The regulatory and governance framework for the water sector in Uganda is governed by a number of laws and statutory instruments that are applicable to the regulation of the water sub-sector.
These include; National Water Policy (1999) and its revised version of 2021, the Water Act (Cap 152), Local Government Act of 1998 (Cap 243), and statutory instruments appointing the water authorities (umbrella authorities and National Water and Sewerage Corporation).
These statutory instruments are in harmony with the United Nations Water Convention (1992) and the UN Watercourse Convention (1997) and the proposed National Water Policy (2021).
Provision of services is dependent on peace, which is a universal right also being enjoyed by majority in Uganda the same way we enjoy water supply and sanitation services, although the sector still requires more investments due to the increasing population and more demand for water for industrial use.
As of August last year, national safe water coverage was estimated at 74 per cent, albeit the target by the Ministry of Water and Environment is to achieve 100 per cent national coverage. The ministry of Water extends clean piped water and sanitation services to all the populations in urban areas, rural areas/rural growth centres and refugee camps.
Through the Water Act, the government sets different water tariffs for people who live in rural areas and urban areas since their sources of income are not the same.
In a bid to scale-up operation and maintenance of water schemes, government established the umbrella water authorities as utility managers, which operate under the Department of Urban Water and Sewerage Services.
There are six umbrella water authorities, namely; northern umbrella; central umbrella, mid-western umbrella, south-western umbrella, Karamoja umbrella and eastern umbrella. These are established in accordance with Sections 46 and 47 of the Water Act, Cap 152.
The primary obligation of the authorities is to achieve the agreed performance standards set out in the respective performance contracts, on water sales, collection efficiency, water quality compliance and a satisfactory score/grade on each technical inspection carried out by the ministry.
By deconcentrating water and sanitation services in all the six regions (east, central, north, Karamoja, mid-west and west), government has provided facilities within, or in the immediate vicinity of the households.
This enables every person to enjoy their full right to access sufficient water for personal and domestic uses which are realised in a sustainable manner for present and future generations.
Mr Noel Muhangi is a media researcher. [email protected]