|Uganda's Water Sector Development: Towards Sustainable Systems (SKAT, 1996)|
|4. Establishing Sectoral Policies|
Despite funding constraints, the Government acted upon many of the early recommendations. A follow-up report on behalf of the RWSG proposed a long-term sector structure based on the principle that cost consciousness and efficiency are closely related to de facto economic responsibility and ownership.10 It recommended that the MWMD's Water Development Department (WDD) be streamlined in its responsibilities to:
- policy formulation;
- legal aspects and regulation enforcement;
- water resource administration and data collection;
- management and auditing of user associations;
- investment planning and donor co-ordination.
It was clear that the pre-conditions existed in Uganda to facilitate the required changes in organisational set-up and shift in responsibilities. Senior ministerial officers and decision-makers maintained a realistic view on the economic situation and possibilities. An open-minded and results-oriented attitude towards problem solving prevailed. At the ground level RCs were proving to be an effective link between communities and Government institutions.
However, the MWMD (and latterly the MNR) made relatively slow progress. This was partly due to a lack of funding and technical assistance. While the donor community was relatively forthcoming with funds for field activities, it had not yet fully grasped the level of support required to restructure the WDD. The first, large donor funds were directed at an emergency rural water and sanitation rehabilitation programme in the early-to-mid 1980s that paved the way for the UNICEF/SIDA/CIDA/NORAD-financed SWIP project. The DWD was formed as a prerequisite to solicit funding and plan investment. A donors' consultative meeting in 1991 based on the document, National Planning Strategy: Rural Water Supply Programme gave impetus and subsequently accelerated water sector development activities.
Since the early seventies, from the first global environmental conference in Stockholm in 1972, to the UN global summit on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro twenty years later, there has been an increasing awareness and much talk about principles of managing water resources and the need for having national policies in place. With financial support from the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida), Uganda was one of the first countries to go beyond the rhetoric of the international conferences by formulating a national Water Action Plan. The Uganda Water Action Plan was prepared during the period 1993 - 1994.
Given the changing priorities and needs of the country, an evolving and dynamic framework was required, rather than a traditional prescriptive ("top-down") master plan. The emerging national policy framework for water resources shows that the process is working.