By Rebecca Alowo
Uganda as a case in point, has prepared and approved in 2013 its Vision 2040. The overall objective of Vision 2040 is to transform Uganda from a peasant society to a modern prosperous country within 30 years. This will involve changing from a predominantly low income to a competitive upper middle country within 30 years. It was envisaged that the country would graduate to the middle income segment by 2017 and reach per capita of USD 9,500 by 2040. Sections 147-161 of the Vision focus on water resources and general and as well contain strategies regarding water supply and sanitation. The Vision recognizes the importance of water as a critical natural resource and its potential to provide numerous opportunities which can foster socio-economic development. These opportunities include domestic water consumption. Under the Vision water related economic activities are expected to generate revenue for the country over the Vision period. These plans look great on paper, as of 2018 these goals however have not yet been achieved.
In order to improve the health, sanitation, hygiene and promotion of commercial set ups, government had planned to construct and extend piped water system to support domestic water consumption and urban development. Bulk water treatment and supply plants to cover significant area taking into consideration the urbanization strategy of the Vision was planned to be applied. The Vision estimates that by 2040, the water supply coverage will be 100%. It is also the government’s vision to support development of water for industrial purpose by putting place infrastructure to support the reuse of water. The focus has been urban WASH in Uganda compared to investment in rural WASH. This should be balanced.
In the Vision provision for water use efficiency, water recycling, and water re-use are stated as key strategies to optimally use water. Accordingly, strategies will be put in place to ensure efficient use of water in water consumptive economic activities. Appropriate technology to support these will be developed. In addition, the design of all future water supply systems must take into consideration all the three important aspects of water sustainability, that is to say water use efficiency, water recycling, and water reuse. The above especially the strategy to expand the water supply coverage, by implication highlights the need for an effective regulatory framework of the water supply and sanitation subsector. This makes the establishment of the regulatory agency relevant. This however has not yet been done. A question remains on how realistic our Vision for 2040 is!
Rebecca Alowo a DEng student at Central University of Technology in the Free State, South Africa