MPs call for increased investment in water sector

However, there are also signs of stagnation in access to piped water in the last five years.

By Our Reporter

Kampala: The Members of Parliament (MPs) have called for increased investment in the water sector to improve the quality of lives of the people in Uganda, saying the reliance of MPs to dig into their pockets to repair water sources in their constituencies isn’t sustainable.

The legislators made the plea on Tuesday while addressing journalists at parliament, ahead of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Symposium on November 23, 2023, in which civil society groups Twaweza East Africa and the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) released figures on the recent studies taken on the status of water and sanitation in Uganda.

According to Marie Nanyanzi, Senior Program Officer at Twaweza, data collected from 2,809 respondents across Uganda in August and September this year indicates that 6 out of 10 citizens (63%) have a challenge with access to water as a serious problem affecting their communities, including 4 out of 10 who say it is the most serious problem (39%).

She, however, added that there are significant disparities between Ugandans’ views on this issue, citing that citizens from rural areas (45%), poorer households (53%), and households with no education (47%) are much more likely to say access to water is a serious problem.

Nanyanzi also noted that, despite the existing stark inequalities, there is some positive news in terms of access to clean and safe water.

Nationwide, the proportion of households that access drinking water from a piped or other improved source has risen from 74% in 2018 to 80% in 2023. Most of this improvement has been seen in rural areas (69% to 77% over the same period), while in urban areas where access is higher, the change has been smaller (86% to 90%).

However, there are also signs of stagnation in access to piped water in the last five years.

Silas Aogon, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Forum on Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, revealed plans to hold a meeting with President Museveni in order to bring him up to speed with the challenges people in Uganda are encountering in terms of access to water and sanitation in Uganda.

He also described as inhumane the practice of charging people to access sanitation facilities and called for free access to water and toilets on major highways. Instead of condemning travelers to using bushes, actions he says put the health of people living around areas where open defecation takes place in jeopardy.

Timothy Chemoges, Associate Director at the Centre for Policy Analysis, called for the reaffirmation to ensure that both the global and national commitments are met and adhered to in order for Uganda to realize the ultimate goal of fulfilling the WASH commitment.

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