President Yoweri Museveni has directed government officials to intervene in matters regarding environmental degradation in the country saying that 40% of rainwater in the country originates from water bodies from the surroundings areas that are being threatened.
“Water bodies including wetlands, forests, rivers and lakes have been depleted around the country and there is no single case that has been recorded, yet we have RDCs, DISO and even Ministers. Where are you when the people are degrading the environment,” he said.
Museveni was commissioning the shs82.3 billion phase 1 Gulu Water Supply and Sanitation Project that is geared towards upgrading and expansion of the existing water treatment plant from a production capacity of 4,000,000 litres of water per day to 10, 000,000 litres of water per day.
The project, which is jointly funded by the government of Uganda, World Bank and KfW Development Bank of Germany is aimed at improving access to water and sanitation services in priority areas, and improve the living conditions in Gulu city.
Gulu Water and Sanitation Improvement Project is located in Gowan Quarters Cell.
The President, who was accompanied by the German Ambassador to Uganda Mathias Schauer, Deputy Speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah, State ministers for Environment and Water Beatrice Anywar and Ronald Kibuule respectively, Board Chairman Eng. Badru M.Kiggundu, Deputy NRM Secretary-General Richard Todwong and Deputy MD Technical Services Eng. Johnson Amayo, noted that the pressure of current water supply system is not strong enough adding that, the next phase is to get piped water from the River Nile which will boost supply to10,000 million cubic meters of water.
Museveni said that when government plans for reliable, safe water in the city of Gulu and other areas in the country, it considers a number of issues including provision of clean water to avoid water-borne disease, access to drinking water in rural and small towns as part of the universal access to safe drinking water for better health.
“There are no more guinea worms, bilharzia, intestinal warms, cholera, amoeba in northern Uganda hence saving lives. Other elements of access safe water include time saved on labour by women and children who instead of walking long distances to access water engage in profitable ventures, water for production in factories, industrial parks, etc,” he said.
Museveni however, cautioned that piped water is not good for agriculture; crops and animals as it contains a chemical – chlorine that kills the bacteria in herbivores affecting their digestive system. “Agriculture input needs untreated solar piped water because it’s cheaper and safer”, he said.
He applauded partners in development especially the German government for their support and acknowledged that much of the funding for the project has come from partners.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah said that it is very important to conceptualize what is happening in the country especially activities on water development and implementation and other areas of national development.
He said that NRM has scored 65% of its mandate on projects implementation countrywide.
The State Minister for Environment Beatrice Anywar said that during the medium and long term, and with support from development partners, the Ministry looks to reach out to all water users in the country and trans-border water supply.
“This expansion of water supplies will at this point be implemented using internally generated revenue.”
On behalf of development partners, the Germany Ambassador to Uganda Mathias Schauer said that Uganda and Germany’s long time bilateral cooperation makes it necessary to engage in serious development programs including water production for the population and to plan for the future generation.