Studies have shown that Uganda is highly vulnerable to climate change and variability. This means that the economy and wellbeing of its people are tightly bound to climate. This has been demonstrated by increasing climate variability and occurrences of floods and droughts over the last two decades. These changes are likely to have significant implications for water sources, agriculture, food security, and soils.
The National Water Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) is a public utility 100% owned by The Government of Uganda. It was established in 1972 under decree No: 34. The mandate of the Corporation is to operate and provide water and sewerage services in areas entrusted to it, on a sound, commercial and viable basis as defined in the National Water & Sewerage Corporation Statute of 1995, Section 5 (1). To date, the utility operates in 66 towns across the country. In meeting its mandate, the majority of its water sources is open water (Lakes and Rivers) which then utility abstracts, treats and distributes to meet the growing needs of the urban dwellers.
However, owing to a number of factors, the quality of raw water abstracted is increasingly deteriorating, translating into increased costs of treating this water. According to NWSC, the cost of treating raw water abstracted from Lake Victoria has more than doubled in the last ten years as the quality of water deteriorates due to activities within the source. Therefore, the need for protection of water sources against climate change, human farming and settlement activities, pollution and general destruction is no longer an option but a requirement. The protection of water sources calls for interventions aimed at increasing the resilience of urban water utilities to the negative effects of climate change.
With the aim of utilizing its youthful workforce who is organized under the Eastern Africa Young Water Professionals Association (EAYWPA), the utility has earmarked an initial budget of 100 Million Uganda shillings towards activities aimed at water source protection. However, in order to successfully implement interventions that will increase the resilience of NWSC, there is need for capacity building of not only the YWPs, but also the utility staff.
It is against this background that the utility in partnership with Young Water Professionals (YWPs), Global Water Partnership (GWP), Eastern Africa and CAPNET through Nile IWRM Net organized a Training Workshop on water security and integrated water resources management to equip participants with appropriate skills to implement interventions that will ultimately increase the resilience of the utility to climate change and other factors and hence ensure its water security.
The training was held in Kampala from 13-17 July and focused on the following specific aspects that are paramount to the water utility:
- Integrated water resources management
- Integrated Urban water resources management
- Water security
- Climate change and climate adaptation for water utilities
- Water source and catchment protection
The training was facilitated by GWPEA and CAPNET and was attended by 35 participants from NWSC staff and selected YWPs drawn from NWSC, Makerere University, and the Ministry of Water and Environment.
The training reached the following outcomes:
- Creation of awareness and opportunities for utilities to develop climate resilience mechanisms to cope with the negative effects of climate change
- Better understanding of IUWRM by NWSC staff and thus better planning and programming of climate resilience interventions by the utility
- Capacity building of all participants on aspects of climate change and integrated water resources management