Monday, June 05, 2023

Uganda: safe to drink?

 Statistics from the ministry of water and environment indicate that at least 14 million Ugandans (about 30 per cent of the population) do not have access to clean and safe water services.The revelation was made by the minister for Water and Environment, Mr Sam Cheptoris while presenting the milestones reached by his ministry in ensuring access to water during the first two years of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) manifesto implementation."It is estimated that 70 percent (33,180,420 people) of the current population have access to clean and safe water services while 30 percent (14,220,000 people) of the population are without access to clean and safe water services," Mr Cheptoris said during the manifesto week in Kampala on Monday."Despite the water developments and initiatives by the ministry, there are still about 21,410 villages without any safe and clean water source," he added.Mr Cheptoris said whereas the ministry is dedicated to extending safe and clean water to all the corners of the country, the current budget allocation does not match with the 3 percent annual population growth."Land acquisition and the high cost of location of sector infrastructure investments is also a major constraint causing delays in project implementation especially for water supply," the minister said.However, Mr Cheptoris further noted that the water ministry through the rural water supply department has to date constructed 150,837 water supply facilities comprising of 42,007 deep boreholes, 21,722 shallow wells, 29,261 protected springs, 37,480 Public Stand Post (PSP)/taps and 20,367 rainwater harvesting tanks.Meanwhile, Dr Akankwasa Barirega, the executive director of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) dismissed allegations that the floods by river Katonga that washed away part of Kampala-Masaka highway were caused by sand mining and rice growing activities in the Lwera wetlands."I agree that rice growing and sand mining in the Lwera wetlands has got an impact on our environment, but it does not in any way contribute to the increased water volumes of river Katonga," Dr Akankwas said.According to him, the current floods in various parts of the country, including river Katonga are as a result of the huge quantities of rainfall received around the country.“As a result of precipitation, there is increased water volumes in the upstream areas which have led to floods in the downstream areas," he added.

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