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Uganda is part of:
Africa · Eastern Africa ·
Water Basins of Uganda:
Lake Turkana · Lotagipi Swamp · Nile ·
Facts & Figures edit
Capital Kampala
Neighbouring Countries Congo , Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania
Total Area 236,040 km2
  - Water 36,330 km2 (15.39%) / 1,539 m2/ha
  - Land 199,710 km2
Coastline 0 km
Population 28,816,230 (120 inhab./km2)
HDIA 0.493 (2007)
Gini CoefficientA 45.7 (1995)
Nominal GDPB $15,040 million
GDP (PPP) Per CapitaB $1,100
National UN Presence FAO, UNDP, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, WB, UNESCO, UN-Habitat, IFAD
Land UseC
  - Cultivated Land 60,891 km2 (30.49%)
     - Arable 43,077 km2 (21.57%)
     - Permanent Crops 17,814 km2 (8.92%)
     - Irrigated 90 km2
  - Non cultivated 138,818 km2 (69.51%)
Average Annual RainfallD 1180 mm
Renewable Water ResourcesE 66 km3
Water WithdrawalsF 0.3 km3/yr
  - For Agricultural Use 40%
  - For Domestic Use 43%
  - For Industrial Use 17%
  - Per Capita 12 m3
Population with safe access to
  - Improved Water Source 60%
     - Urban population 87%
     - Rural population 56%
  - Improved Sanitation 43%
     - Urban population 54%
     - Rural population 41%
References & Remarks
A UNDP Human Development Report
B CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia
C CIA World Factbook Country Profiles
D Aquastat - FAO's Information System on Water and Agriculture
E CIA World Factbook
F Earthtrends

> Articles | Projects & Case studies | Publications & Web resources | Who is who | Maps
> Sector Assessment | Sector Coordination | Donor Profile

Latest 4 maps for / including Uganda (more..):



Country Profile: Climate, Geography, Socio-Economic Context

Country Profile: Water Bodies and Resources

Uganda has an abundance of water resources. Rivers, lakes and wetlands cover about 20% of the total surface area. Uganda has eight significant river basins: Lake Victoria, Lake Edward, Lake Albert, Victoria Nile, Albert Nile, Aswa, Kidepo, and Lake Kyoga. Lake Victoria, one of the world’s largest lakes (69,000 square kilometers) is the basis for all existing and planned major hydropower schemes, and provides water to Kampala, Entebbe, and Jinja. There are an estimated 200,000 protected and unprotected springs. Annual rainfall is in the range of 600–2500 millimeters.

Groundwater is the main source of water for rural populations and is also important for livestock, particularly in dry regions. Aquifers are comparatively low-yielding with a limited areal extent and poor hydraulic characteristics. In some areas, groundwater extraction rates exceed recharge rates, resulting in the drying up of wells and boreholes. In 2002, total water withdrawal was 300 million cubic meters (m3) (0.4% of total available water). Domestic use accounted for 134 million m3; irrigation and livestock for 120 million m3; and industry for 46 million m3. The potential for irrigation is estimated to be over 400,000 hectares, but only about 5% has been developed. Small-scale irrigation is practiced in the east and northeast and is generally confined to paddy rice. High-value crops (e.g., flowers, horticulture crops) are grown under irrigation for export, but only to a limited extent and close to export gateways.

Total renewable water resources are estimated to be 66 cubic kilometers per year. Internal surface water resources are about 39 cubic kilometers per year, and groundwater is estimated to be 29 cubic kilometers per year. Recognizing overlap, the total internal water resources is 39 cubic kilometers per year. External resources of 27 cubic kilometers per year comprise inflow from Lakes Victoria, Edward and Albert. In 2007, renewable internal freshwater resources per capita is 1272.9 cubic meters. Average water use per capita is half the recommended amount, and 30% of constructed facilities are not functioning properly. National household latrine coverage is estimated by the government at 48%, but there is wide variation of coverage. Coverage of public latrines is 19% of public places, with most latrines located in schools, markets, and health units. In 2006, 33% of the population had access to improved sanitation facilities, including 34% of the rural population and 29% of the urban population. Also in 2006, 64% of the population had access to improved water sources—60% of the rural population and 90% of the urban population. In 2000, 35% of the organic water pollutant (BOD) emissions came from food industries, 17% from textile industries, and 13% from clay and glass industries.

Country Profile: Legal and Institutional Environment

Legal Framework

The Constitution states that “[t]he government…shall hold in trust for the people and protect natural lakes, rivers, (and) wetlands…” (Section 237(1)[b]) and “All Ugandans enjoy rights and opportunities and access to…clean and safe water…” (Preamble XIV[ii]). The Uganda Water Action Plan (1995) provides the overall guidelines and strategies for the management, development and protection of water resources. The National Water Policy (1999) objective is “[t]o manage and develop the water resources of Uganda in an integrated and sustainable manner, so as to secure and provide water of adequate quantity and quality for all social and economic needs of the present and future generations with the full participation of all stakeholders”.

The Water Act of 1995 (2000) provides for the use, protection and management of water resources; the constitution of water and sewerage authorities; and the development of water supply and sewerage undertakings. The Water Resources Regulations (1998) and Water (Waste Discharge) Regulation (1998) prescribe the threshold and procedure for applications to construct any works that use or discharge water under the Water Act. Uganda and nine other countries constitute the Nile Basin. The Nile Basin Initiative is a legal entity designed to promote development and enforce regulations on projects utilizing Nile River water. The Nile Basin Initiative supports several projects, but it is unclear how well it has enforced regulations.

The National Gender Policy (1999) recognizes women and children as the main carriers and users of water and seeks to mainstream gender in all the water sector activities. Other relevant plans and policies include: National Environmental Action Plan (1994); Poverty Eradication Action Plan; Local Government Act (1997); National Environmental Management Act (1998); National Wetlands Management Policy; and Fish Farming Policy.

Institutional Framework
Key Agencies in Uganda's Water Sector
Key Agencies in Uganda's Water Sector

The Directorate of Water Development (DWD) (Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment (MWLE)), established in 1993, is the lead government agency responsible for water resources management, the provision of water supplies in rural areas and urban centers (excluding the country’s 15 large urban centers), the granting of water use permits, and the coordination and regulation of all sector activities. The Directorate also provides support services to districts, towns, lower local governments and other service providers. Local governments and communities are responsible for implementing, operating and maintaining water supply and sanitation facilities in their area of jurisdiction. The Directorate and National Environment Management Authority (Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment) ensure that water resources are not over exploited or polluted—setting standards for water quality and discharge of effluent, granting wastewater discharge permits, setting limits on the use and development of lakes and riverbanks, and reviewing environmental impact assessments.

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), established in 1972, is an autonomous parastatal entity (Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment) responsible for water supply and sewerage services in 15 large urban centers, including Kampala, Jinja/Njeru, and Entebbe. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries affects water resources management: agriculture through irrigation and land use practices in relation to soil erosion; veterinary services through run-off of chemicals from cattle dips; and fisheries through the intake and discharge of fish ponds. The East African Community, Nile Basin Initiative, and other regional bodies have responsibilities for the management of transboundary water bodies and water ways.

Small towns between 5,000 and 30,000 inhabitants control their own WSS services, and have often times created Water Authorities, which contract out operations to local private firms. The local private sector currently serves 61 towns and has achieved water supply coverage rates of 67 percent, often through local operations which operate under performance contracts to NWSC.

Uganda does not have an autonomous WSS regulator, but it is creating a transparent regulatory system through legal contracts. There are performance contracts between the Water Authorities and the MWLE, and there is a performance contract between NWSC and MWLE/Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development. The Water Act of 1995 puts DWD in charge of technical regulation in the sector and it oversees these contracts through a performance contract review committee. In turn, NWSC and the Water Authorities oversee and report on progress and achievements against their contracts with local operators.

The MWE supports both the small towns and more rural areas in conjunction with the local government authorities and the Ministries of Health and Education and Sports.

Sector financing has been structured through medium and long-term financial planning. NWSC has credit-worthy standing and is increasing borrowing through the bond market. Rural areas however, derive most of their funding from grants or other outside donor funding. The government should consider allocating more resources to areas that attract donor funding rather than steering government allocations away, simply because non-budgeted resources are attracted to the area.

Government Reforms and Interventions

High source development costs, rapid population growth, increased urbanization and industrialization, environmental degradation and pollution are leading to degradation and depletion of available water resources. Areas of concern include: 1) inadequate water quantity and accessibility; 2) poor water quality; 3) poor watershed management; 4) inadequate institutional capacity; and 5) international water rights. There is also considerable spatial distribution of water resources. In some areas, flooding routinely displaces people and destroys property. In other areas, surface water resources are seasonal and exploitable groundwater is limited.

Access to improved water sources in rural areas rose from 20.3% in 1990 to 55% in 2002, and access to improved sanitation rose to 85% from 55.1%. In urban areas, access to safe water fell from 72% in 1990 to 63% in 2002, while access to sanitation rose from 71.2% in 1990 to 96% in 2002 (GOU 2005). The national targets for water are: 1) achieve 100% safe water coverage and 100% sanitation coverage in urban areas by 2015, with an 80%–90% effective use and functionality of facilities; and 2) achieve 77% safe water coverage and 95% sanitation coverage in rural areas by 2015, with an 80%–90% effective use and functionality of facilities.

The government and donors have made substantial investments in the water sector. Donors include Denmark, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Britain, Netherlands, Japan, World Bank, European Union, UNICEF and a number of NGOs. Financial flows to the sector increased from $30 million in 1998/99 to $68.3 million in 2002/03. Many development partners finance the water sector through general budget support, which gives government a high degree of flexibility in allocating financial resources. The primary instrument for sector financing is budget support directly to local governments through inter-governmental grants.

Effective, efficient and sustainable delivery of water and sanitation services will require enhanced capacity of responsible institutions. Government is building the capacity of institutions and local governments and promoting increased private sector and community participation. The Lake Victoria Environment Management Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility, aims to restore the lake ecosystem to maximize benefits to the riparian communities. The Operational Water Resources Management in the Nile Basin project, supported by Italy and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), aims to facilitate the adoption of adequate, harmonized national water policies in the Nile Basin states for integrated river basin management and the allocation of transboundary water resources. The Mitigation of Lake Kyoga Flooding Project, supported by Egypt, aims to dredge sudds (floating land masses) from Lake Kyoga and restore the natural channel of flow.

Country Profile: Water Sector Coordination

See Sector coordination sub-page for detailed description

Country Profile: Trends in Water Use, Management and Sanitation

Country Profile: Challenges and Opportunities


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Projects and Case Studies

Projects in or about Uganda

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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented projects in Uganda


5 most recently updated publications on Uganda
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5 most popular publications on Uganda
  1. Water Conflict and Cooperation/Nile River Basin ‎(55,053 views) . . Katy.norman
  2. The Nile: Moving Beyond Cooperation ‎(10,780 views) . . Katy.norman
  3. Promoting Transparency, Integrity and Accountability in the Water and Sanitation Sector in Uganda ‎(1,589 views) . . Katy.norman

See the complete list of WaterWiki documented publications on Uganda

Who is Who

People working in Uganda

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See the complete list of Waterwiki users working in Uganda

Organizations working in Uganda

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See the complete list of WaterWiki documented organizations in Uganda


See also

External Resources

"Water Supply and Sanitation in Uganda" on Wikipedia



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