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close this bookUganda's Water Sector Development: Towards Sustainable Systems (SKAT, 1996)
close this folder3. Driving Forces
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe physical environment
View the documentState of existing infrastructure
View the documentPressing financial shortages
View the documentNeed for legislative reforms
View the documentInstitutional requirements

The physical environment

Fortunately, Uganda has a plentiful supply of water — some 15 per cent of the country is water! Lake Victoria, the second largest freshwater lake in the world, is shared between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Situated on the equator, rainfall is generally high, averaging from 500 to more than 1600 mm per year. However, seasonal and spatial variability of water resources causes specific problems. Political conflicts are emerging between upstream and downstream users. Locally, upstream riparians may use water in ways making, for instance, water quality unsuitable for downstream users. Internationally, in the context of the Nile Basin, Lake Victoria and the River Nile are finite shared resources and the projected demands of the riparian nations may well exceed the resource.

The provision of safe water was a major concern and with it the closely related issue of sanitation. At the end of the 1980s, the incidence of water-borne diseases was on the increase. Epidemics of typhoid, cholera and dysentery were becoming common place. According to out-patient records from 1990, mortality in under five's due to water-borne diseases was prevalent.7 Uganda's health system was unable to cope. There was an urgent need to improve the rural population's access to safe drinking water and their sanitation practices for better health and general well-being.