Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has unveiled an ambitious plan to supply 10,000 villages with water by 2020, but asking the government to pay half of the US$54.4 million cost.
In a letter dated August 9th 2016 and addressed to Dr Silver Mugisha, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, the managing director of NWSC, says for the last three years, the corporation has undertaken aggressive water extensions and water supply stabilisation plans using internally generated funds.
He said the exercise has significantly increased the number of towns that are supplied by the corporation from the initial 23 in 2013, to 170 currently and it has also increased the number of people that have access to piped water from 3.5 million to 6.6 million.
“Therefore, this is to request you to consider providing NWSC with additional investment subsidy of Shs30 billion per annum up to June 2020,” Dr Mugisha wrote.
Samuel Cheptoris, the Water and Environment minister, said if the utility is offered budget support from the government, they will be in a position to achieve their objective.
“If the money is available, 100 per cent coverage is achievable but if they do not avail the money, then we shall adjust our targets for 2020,” Mr Cheptoris said.
In 2013, NWSC came up a strategic plan geared at achieving 100 per cent piped water coverage for the country which saw the company increase its operations from 23 towns to over 170 today. This led to into an increased water network length from 7,500 to 10,770 kilometres together with doubled revenue from Shs170 billion to Shs276 billion.
The company which had revenue surplus of US$17.8 million, is currently undertaking network expansion at the Ggaba water works with a mission to increase water coverage in Kampala in areas such as Mutundwe, and Kyengera and parts of Wakiso District which have not been previously connected to the network.
NWSC also intends to invest US$11.9 million in upgrading the sewerage infrastructure around the country and another US$11.9 million for Kampala Water alone.
Availability of water in Africa continues to be a major challenge in the wake of drought in some parts of the continent and poor government policies. According to WHO Young children die before reaching 5 years old due to water related illness.