The House has granted Tororo Municipality Member of Parliament (MP), Hon. Apollo Ofwono Yeri leave to introduce a Private Member’s Bill entitled, “The Rainwater (Harvesting and Storage) Bill”.
The MP presented the motion seeking leave to introduce the Bill during plenary sitting on Wednesday, 11 October 2023.
The draft Bill provides for mandatory harvesting and storage of rainwater, to conserve, establish, maintain and manage rainwater harvesting systems and facilities in Uganda.
In his justification, Hon. Yeri said that there is need to put in place appropriate mechanisms to address the issue of drought and flooding, especially by taking advantage of the rainy seasons when the water is in plenty.
“During rainy season, rainwater causes flooding especially in urban areas where the drainage systems are not well maintained,” said Yeri.
He added that harvesting and storing rainwater will augment the water needs of the people of Uganda while at the same time minimising flooding.
“Climate projections indicate that conditions will become even more severe in the future and will continue to pose threats to Uganda amidst the growing population, economy and increasing urbanisation,” he said.
The draft law introduces a building committee whose function is to ensure that all developers make provisions for rainwater harvesting and storage.
“Water is a scarce commodity, for instance, it has just rained now, but instead of harvesting the water, families instead move to collect water from the well. That is time wastage,” said Yeri.
The Mitooma District Woman MP, Hon. Juliet Agasha, seconded the motion to introduce the Bill, saying that harvesting and storing of water will protect the rights and wellbeing of women and young girls from exposure to sexual harassment.
“They usually trek long distances when they go to look for water. The Bill also promotes the President’s agenda on solar powered irrigation pumps. When rain water is well trapped and harvested, it will help in easing the irrigation process, thus helping people in rural areas,” she said.
Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, referred the Bill to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources but guided that the committee liaises with that of Physical Infrastructure, saying that Yeri’s proposals could be incorporated in the Building Control Act.
“In the end, it can even be an amendment by Hon. Ofwono [Yeri] instead of a stand-alone Bill. These are the issues we should look at when it comes for First Reading, in case it is cleared. It is just a proposal and it is still a draft, I cannot comment much about it,” Tayebwa said.
He added that whilst it is encouraged to make new laws, some issues can be included in the existing laws, to strengthen them.
Hellen Kasujja, the Deputy Executive Director, Community Integrated Development Initiatives (CIDI) recently described the law as very exciting news for schools and communities facing high water bills.
“That’s exciting news. 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 said in a recent interview with PML Daily