KAMPALA – Players in the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector have welcomed a bill that seeks to regulate, promote, and build the capacity for rainwater harvesting and storage in Uganda.
Uganda parliament recently allowed Tororo Municipality Member of Parliament Apolo Ofwono Yeri to move the motion with a vision to make good use of wasted rainwater including floods.
The Rainwater (Harvesting and Storage) Bill was seconded by Juliet Agasha Bashiisha (Mitooma) and Lawrence Biyika Songa (Ora County).
Upon resumption, Parliament, which is currently on recess, will receive the presentation on the rainwater harvesting bill.
Speaking to reporters after a stakeholder engagement on access to WASH within the communities and the schools, Nakawa East MP Ronald Balimwezo Nsubuga who is a popular advocate of WASH in Uganda said the bill will address water scarcity in schools in the prevailing circumstances of climate change.
The dialogue also attended by Nakawa Division Councillors was hosted by Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI).
Balimwezo who welcomed that bill said it will also help to secure abundant water for both domestic consumption and production to counter eventualities of water scarcity especially in schools.
The Nakawa East MP said that the bill should prohibit water harvesting from asbestos roofing materials.
“Asbestos is cancerous and this law should help us to prohibit any water harvesting from it,” he said adding that asbestos exposure may increase the risk for cancers of the digestive system.
Hellen Kasujja, the Deputy Executive Director of CID said that schools have for a long been suffering from high water bills. At the community level, she said that access to water has been limited by a number of things including low pressure in other places.
“So we made this engagement to ensure that the stakeholders including NWSC, KCCA, councilors communities, and the school head teachers and managers, including school management committees, can come together and find best ways of getting solutions to address the key issues of wash within Kampala, and Nakawa Division in particular,” said Kasujja.
Reacting to reports on the budding bill, Kasujja said: “That’s exciting news because we know Kampala City is a flood-prone city. We believe rainwater harvesting will increase access to water, especially for schools that are suffering, but also for the community from the community perspective”.
“Harvesting water in any sense be it on the roads and being having alternative uses is very good for us because it reduces the community’s susceptibility to floods,” she added.
According to experts Uganda has a potential of collecting more than 350 billion cubic metres.
Local firms have innovated technologies that enable effective harvesting of rain but are not being supported due to a lack of policies, laws, and funding.
Juliet Mary Muhairwe, the head teacher, of Uganda School for the Deaf in Ntinda said the school is battling water scarcity challenges and that the new bill on water harvesting will help to reduce water scarcity but also on the bills.
“We have problems with NWSC. Sometimes it isn’t available for weeks or months yet we are operating a boarding school,” she said in an interview.