Water resources, wetlands, biodiversity and ecosystems and forests are what make up a great environment. To preserve and protect them, the NRM government has put strong policies, laws and regulations on how people can manage them.
In the Manifesto, the NRM government promised to do the following to preserve the environment.
It promised to focus on the provision of access to safe and clean water and improved sanitation by increasing safe water coverage in both urban and rural areas as well as increase water for production storage facilities by investing in construction of multi-purpose water reservoirs to boost agricultural production through irrigation.
The NRM Government also recognizes environment and natural resources as a critical component in development and wealth creation and therefore promised to aim at promoting massive tree planting and restoration of the degraded ecosystems country-wide.
Water supply and sanitation
The NRM Manifesto (2016/2021) prioritized provision of safe water in rural and urban areas, provision of water production across the country, integrated water resources management as well as management of environment and natural resources.
In the area of access to safe water and sanitation, the NRM manifesto prioritizes increased access to clean and safe water from the 65 per cent to 79 per cent in rural areas and from 72 per cent to 100 per cent in urban areas by 2021 with the aim of providing a safe water source in every village.
“In regard to sanitation, the focus is to Increase access to improved sanitation in rural areas from the current 77 per cent to 79 per cent and from 84 per cent to 100 per cent in urban areas by the year 2021,” notes the Manifesto.
The NRM government also 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. We have planned to pump the water from large reservoirs to a high point and then extend it by gravity to reach more areas so that the water is brought nearer to the users for home consumption, irrigation, livestock and industrial use.
What has been done
While addressing the Nation on the progress on Manifesto Implementation presented during annual manifesto week on 17th May, Hon. Sam Cheptoris Minister of Water and Environment gave insights on the Ministries progress.
“Rural water coverage increased from 68% in June 2016 to 70 % in June 2017 with a total of 36,614 villages estimated to have been served with safe water countrywide, while sanitation coverage has increased from 79% .to 80%,” he noted
Water for Production projects
He added that the government has developed a national irrigation policy which will guide planning and implementation of irrigation programs in the country.
Cheptoris notes that the cumulative storage capacity for water for production stands at 38.9 million cubic metres compared to 37.2 million cubic metres realized during FY 2016/17.
He also noted that the government has constructed Ten (10) Small Scale Solar Powered Irrigation Schemes in the districts of Isingiro, Mbarara, Rukiga, Lwengo, Mukono, Mityana, Masaka, Oyam, Bugiri and Soroti,
“Constructed One Hundred Six (106) Valley tanks on Individual farms creating a storage capacity of 357,420m3 using the Ministry Equipment in the Districts of, Isingiro, Bukedea, Gomba, Katakwi, Kitgum, Lwengo, Sembabule, Kabarole, Kamuli, Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Ntungamo, Sembabule, Mbarara, Kiruhura, Lyantonde, Tororo, Soroti and Kaberamaido,” he sayed.
Environment and Natural Resources Management
Cheptoris said that the Ministry supplied a total of 1,856,696 seedlings to the districts of Bududa, Bukwo, Namisindwa and Mbale, catchment areas of Ngenge (Kween), Tochii (Oyam), Wadelai (Nebbi), Mubuku II (Kasese), Doho II (Butaleja), Olweny (Lira) and Agoro (Lamwo) irrigation schemes as well as the districts of Luwero and Nakaseke.
“National Forestry Authority (NFA) produced about 5 million assorted seedlings and supplied to the communities around the forest reserves, while 244 hactre of forest plantations were established. 176.6Kms of wetland boundary were demarcated out of the planned 320Km,” he said.
He also noted that the government through NEMA stopped 19 companies involved in sand mining in Mpigi and Kalungu districts due to non- compliance to permit approval and issuance conditions.
The National Environment Act was reviewed and the National Environment Bill is currently before Parliament. This bill is key in management of environmental aspects of Oil and Gas, Electronic waste as Uganda enters into the oil and Gas production stage.
Uganda National Meteorological Authority issued three seasonal forecasts which were disseminated to the public through various media platforms and provided aviation forecasts for both scheduled and unscheduled flights.
The Minister pointed out the following as the major challenges. Limited financing: The sector required financing is estimated at 6 times the current level of available funds.
Land acquisition and the high costs – for location of sector infrastructure investments has become a major constraint.
Encroachment on ecosystems – due to high population growth rates and the need for arable land, the sector continues to experience increased levels of environment degradation and uncontrolled encroachment on the already fragile environment and natural resources remaining beyond the restoration efforts.
“Underfunding to environment and Natural Resources sub sector. Despite the country’s dependency on environment and natural resources for economic development, there’s is still low financing of the subsector yet these resources are facing high encroachment and depletion as a result poor protection, restoration and enforcement,” he noted.
He also said deforestation/encroachment in CFRs remains the main challenge to the physical and legal integrity of Forestry Reserves lies in eliminating deforestation