The government of Japan through its Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided a USD 15.3 million grant to Uganda for the provision of piped water in five districts within the Lake Kyoga basin.
The project is aimed at improving living conditions by increasing access to water in target rural centres in the Eastern districts of Iganga, adiposity Kibuku, Luuka, Pallisa and Serere.
On Friday, the Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija together with the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda Kazuaki Kameda signed and exchanges notes of the project at an event held at the Ministry of Finance headquarters.
The project will boost water supply amounts by 581 cubic metres per day as well as the served population from 13,800 to 24,738 by 2022. Previously, the area has suffered scarcity with residents walking long distances to ferry water. Rural centres to benefit from this project include; Nambala, Lambala, Naigobya, Kyanvuma, Kasassira, Kameke, Kapala, Buseta and Kidetok.
According to JICA, the project feasibility study was conducted in 2009 and the design stage has already been completed. The contractor is set to commerce construction works in January 2018 and the project will be commissioned by 2021.
Speaking after the signing event, Minister Kasaija said; “Water in Uganda still remains a scarce resource. It is unfortunate that people walk up to 10 kilometres to collect water. People should spend time working not fetching water.”
He cautioned the officials in the Ministry of Water and Environment to ensure that the funds are properly managed for the intended purpose as well as timely project implementation.
Ambassador Kameda said the project is both in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Uganda’s national development plan which intends to increase access of safe water in rural areas from 65% to 79%.
“In addition to health safety issues associated with limited access to water, the project comes in time to address the issue of drastically changing climate conditions in Uganda,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“With the prolonged dry spell and irregular rainfalls, it is critical that regular and reliable sources of water are identified and provide to the people in rural communities.” He urged government to ensure that the project is implemented in time so as to increase the resilience of the country.
In the next three years, government looks to spend up to Ush 1.3 trillion annually in a bid to extend clean and safe water to every village across the country.