Story by Naboth Isaac Niwagaba
February 9, 2024
The most recent Water Atlas report for Kabale District has unveiled a notable 63% increase in community water sources over the past five years. The latest water mapping exercise recorded 1070 new water points, shedding light on the positive strides made in enhancing water access.
This revelation came to light during a meeting convened to disseminate the water data collected in November of the previous year. Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the Ugandan Water Project and Wells of Life, in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment, spearheaded the comprehensive mapping initiative.
At the gathering held yesterday in Kabale District’s Rukiiko Hall, Ms. Naigga Vencia, the Ugandan Water Project Officer in charge of Monitoring and Evaluation, shared insights into the methodology employed. She highlighted the use of the Water APP to collect Kabale District’s water data, emphasizing the collaborative effort aimed at updating the National Water Atlas.
“As the largest users of the digital water app, our findings are shared with the Ministry to assist in updating the National Water Atlas,” she remarked.
Ms. Naigga further pointed out that the last update for the Water Atlas in Kabale District was in 2018. Since then, community water points have surged from 1,685 to 2,755 as of November 2023. The diverse water points encompass protected and non-protected springs, boreholes, gravity water schemes, rainwater harvesting tanks, among others.
However, Ms. Naigga highlighted a concerning aspect, noting that out of the 2,755 community water points, 654 were non-functional, and 17 were recommended for decommissioning.
In his opening remarks, Kabale District Principal Assistant Secretary Manzi Gordon, who also acted as the Chief Administrative Officer, expressed gratitude to the NGOs and the Ministry of Water and Environment for their diligent efforts in updating Kabale’s water data. He underscored the identification of priority areas, such as Butanda Sub County, where water scarcity remains a significant concern.
Similarly, Kabale District Vice Chairperson Miria Akankwasa emphasized the significance of the collected data in the budgeting process. She highlighted the reliance on accurate data regarding people’s needs, particularly in ensuring access to safe and clean water.
Eng. Jane Achom, the Deputy Manager at the Ministry of Water and Environment Rural Water Regional Centre, Mbarara Office, acknowledged the financial investments made by the Ugandan Water Project and Wells of Life in the nationwide data collection activities. She urged Kabale District Authorities to utilize the data effectively for strategic planning, especially during the budget processes.
Meanwhile, officials from the Ugandan Water Project disclosed that Kabale was one of the ten districts benefiting from the water mapping exercise by February 2024. The other districts included Lira, Apac, Luwero, Padel, Soroti, Kwania, Sembabule, Lamwo, and Nakapiripiriti. The water mapping initiative serves as a crucial tool for District Local Governments and the Ministry of Water and Environment to locate water sources, identify areas facing water scarcity, and allocate resources based on the needs of affected communities.