Water Quality Management Department


To investigate, promote, control, protect and sustainably manage the quality of water resources for all uses.


To be a centre of excellence in the provision of water and environmental quality services


To provide timely and reliable water and environmental quality services for protection of public

health, ecosystem integrity and sustainable socio-economic development


  1. Periodically review and initiate improvements to the policy, legal and institutional framework for water quality management in Uganda.
  2. Develop, review and update water quality management plans including interventions for national disasters and emergencies.
  3. Design, review and operate national networks for ambient and operational monitoring including compliance monitoring for drinking water and effluents discharges.
  4. Carry out water quality assessments and offer advice on water quality issues to Government, Water Policy Committee, NEMA, other stakeholders, and the general public.
  5. Provide technical back up support to Local Governments, NGOs, Private Sector for water resources regulation; provide support for water treatment especially in Small Towns, rural growth centres and institutions that are not under NWSC.
  6. Introduce and oversee application of various tools for water quality management such as economic instruments, setting water quality objectives for water bodies, Water Safety Plans and biological monitoring.
  7. Operate a National Reference and Regional Laboratories for environmental quality analysis.
  8. Monitor, quality assures and regulate operations of water testing laboratories in Uganda.
  9. Establish and operate a National Water Quality Database.
  10. Package and disseminate information on water quality to all stakeholders; participate in capacity building and support of Nile Basin countries, Water Management Zone offices, districts, civil society organizations and local communities in catchment based water quality management.
  11. Carry out research in water quality and support innovations for low cost water treatment


The department has two divisions, namely; Water Quality and Information Systems Division and Environmental Laboratory Division. Each division is headed by Assistant Commissioner.



The Environmental Laboratories Division

operates and manages the National Reference Water Quality Laboratory .The laboratory is well equipped with the state of the art analytical equipment for analysis of water, wastewater, biota and sediment   samples.

Specifically the following are the functions of the Laboratory;

  • Development and implementation of a local proficiency testing scheme in collaboration with the Uganda National Bureau of Standards. The laboratory in addition to the national schemes also participates in international proficiency testing schemes such as the international Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Global Environmental monitoring systems (GEMS/Water) and  Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) inter laboratory comparison scheme.
  • Development of common analytical protocols for generation of comparable results in all water quality testing laboratories in Uganda.
  • Offering services for water testing equipment calibration.
  • Regulation, monitoring, supervision and technical audit of water testing laboratories.
  • Back-up analytical support for advanced analysis such as heavy metal and pesticide analysis.
  • Provision of capacity building for all water testing laboratories in analytical techniques and quality systems. To achieve this, the department provides hands on training in water quality sampling and analysis and laboratory quality system procedures for staff and participants from NWSC, projects, Local government, Nile Basin countries and several NGOs.


The National Reference Laboratory supports different projects and programs. It also serves as focal point for the NBI. The laboratory is well equipped with state of the art analytical instruments for analysis of water, wastewater, biota and sediment. The laboratory is made up of six individual laboratories that is the Main Chemistry laboratory, the microbiology laboratory, heavy metals laboratory, organics laboratory, biology laboratory and sediments laboratory

The main chemistry laboratory

Over 40 traditional physic-chemical parameters

A team of competent laboratory Staff


The department performs analysis of water, wastewater, sediments and biota for external clients and charges rates as indicated below;