Access to safe and clean water by majority of Ugandans may not achieved unless government increases resources it allocates to the Ministry of Water and environment.
Addressing Journalists early this week at the Ministry Head offices ahead of the Uganda Water and Environment Week for 2019, Water and Environment Minister Sam Cheptoris said limited resources have hindered them from executing water projects across the country.
“As a ministry, we are aware that some Ugandans are not accessing safe and clean water both for human consumption and production but nothing can be done unless more resources are allocated to the sector. Currently, our budget cannot allow us to work on major water projects,” the minister told Journalists
On environmental destruction, especially in wetlands, the minister said government will embark on restoring the degraded wetlands by removing all encroachers but he said more time is needed because the exercise is likely to affect people’s livelihoods.
“All those people who have encroached on the wetlands are going to be worked on either in diplomatic ways or by use of force because we have warned them several times and its seems they are not willing to vacate the wetlands. As government, we are working with other stakeholders to ensure that all land titles in wetlands that were issued after the 1995 Constitution, are cancelled since the current environmental law puts all wetlands in government’s possession,” he explained.
He, however, said government will not stop local people from utilizing the wetlands if they do it in a sustainable way to ensure they are not degraded. To achieve this, the minister said they have developed a wetlands utilization management plan which will guide the members of the general public on which income activities can be carried out in specific wetlands.
Uganda is among countries in African where natural resources such as forests and wetlands are being degraded at a high rate. This has been associated with weaknesses in enforcing environmental laws despite the fact that Uganda has one of the best environmental laws in place.
However, Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the commissioner in charge of Water Resources Planning and Regulation in the Ministry of Water and Environment, also attributed the problem to the general public especially traditional and cultural Institutions alongside religious ones which he blamed for not supporting government in Environment conservation.
“These institutions have big role to play as far as protecting our natural resources is concern they should preach to their followers that Wetlands destruction is not good. As Government we urge them to join Government in sensitizing the public about the danger of Environmental degradation” He said.
The Uganda Environment and Water week will run from March 18 up to 22 March and the main event will be celebrated at the Water Resources training Institute Entebbe. President Museveni is expected to grace the occasion as the chief Guest.
The Event will conclude with the annual commemoration of three vital International Days, that is, World Forest day, World water Day and World Meteorology Day.
The overall theme of the Week is Water and Environment; a strategy driver in attainment of sustainable Development Goals 2030.
The Overall goal of the Week is to improve understanding of the centrality of water and Environment resources in attaining of the SDGs by 2030.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO