Government through National Water and Sewerage Corporation has taken over piped water supply operations in Rwamwanje-Kamwenge district.
This follows the signing of an MOU between the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and NWSC to provide reliable water supply to over 84,000 refugees and local Ugandans in the area.
UNHCR representative in Uganda Joel Boutroue appreciated efforts by the Government of Uganda to integrate refugees in government service delivery systems.
“This is in line with the spirit of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) and the need to leverage government institutions in providing more sustainable solutions for refugees and their hosts,” he said
Speaking at the signing ceremony, NWSC MD Dr. Eng Silver Mugisha appreciated the partnership with UNHCR to improve the lives of refugees and the local community.
Dr. Mugisha assured the meeting that NWSC will come up with good and effecient management systems for the piped water infrastructure in the refugee camps.
“From the current 17.5litres per day, the occupants in the settlement will get 20 litres per day and more. We shall lay new transmission mains in the settlement to serve more people.” he said
He added that NWSC is implementing water and sanitation projects in Isingiro and Adjumani.
“The corporation will also extend services to settlements in the two areas.
“With the two massive projects on board, we shall use our expertise to manage similar UNHCR water systems in Isingiro and Adjumani.” he shared
Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the NWSC will take over the management of the water distribution system and assets from UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Rwamwanja refugee settlement, Uganda’s Kamwenge district. The system has been managed and maintained by UNHCR and OPM since 2012, when the settlement was reopened to receive new refugee arrivals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
In Rwamwanja settlement, water is currently supplied through six motorized boreholes (five solar-generator hybrid and one fuel-driven), 82 manual boreholes and shallow wells and six protected springs, which now will be integrated into the national water supply system.
While this is the first pilot of this kind in Uganda, refugee and local communities in and around the settlement will receive an average of 20 litres per person per day (l/p/d) once the scheme becomes fully operational, up from the current supply of 17.5 l/p/d. As part of the initiative, the existing water network will be further extended, bringing water closer to the communities and reducing the waiting time at water collection points.
Uganda is currently home to approximately 1.34 million refugees, with more than 79,000 new arrivals since January this year. The government launched the CRRF in March 2017, calling for a whole-of-society approach to better manage refugee influxes and find long-term solutions to address the needs of refugees and the communities that host them.