I welcome you all to the Ministry of Water and Environment Website.
The Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) has the responsibility for setting national policies and standards, managing and regulating water resources and determining priorities for water development and management.
It also monitors and evaluates sector development programmes to keep track of their performance, efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. MWE has three directorates: Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM), Directorate of Water Development (DWD) and the Directorate of Environmental Affairs (DEA).
The mandate of the Ministry regarding sanitation and hygiene activities is stipulated in the Memorandum of Understanding that was signed by Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education Sports, and MWE. The role of MWE is limited to development of public sanitary facilities and promotion of good practices of hygiene and sanitation in small towns and rural growth centers. With respect to water for production, MWE is the lead agency for water for production and development off-farm.
On the side of performance the Ministry has made tremendous strides in provision of safe water and sanitation services. As of June 2010, the national safe water coverage for rural water supply was estimated at 65%, and 67%, for urban areas. In FY 2009/2010 the national sanitation coverage rose from 67.5% to 69.7%, Sanitation coverage for urban areas is now at 77%, up slightly from 74% in 2007. Coverage for sewerage services is about 6.4%.
The Ugandan environment is under threat from natural and man-made drivers of change. Forests are being cleared, wetlands are being degraded and the environment is being polluted. In FY 2009/10 there was significant progress in the development of the National Wetland Information System (NWIS), which is now partially operational. In addition, wetlands management issues were introduced into schools programmes, management plans for RAMSAR sites were developed, and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) were undertaken. In the fifteen years up to 2005, Uganda’s forest cover reduced by nearly one third, with the fastest change outside Protected Areas. Land use has been changing over the years with tropical high forests and woodlands being degraded to into bushland, grassland and farmland as well as built up areas. Encroachment on Forest Reserves has been a thorny issue since the 1970’s.
As we continue in our effort to provide sound management and sustainable utilization of Uganda’s natural resource, it is important to note that there are still real challenges that need to be overcome. The Ministry is determined to build on what has so far been achieved and not just to deliver on the set objectives but to build up the capacity to do better in future.
I am pleased to note that the Ministry Website will become an important vehicle for providing information with regard to water and environment activities.