Uganda is one of the many African countries that access to clean and safe water is still a major challenge. According to the 11th water and Environment sector performance report 2019 as of June, it details that the percentage of the rural population using an improved water source access was estimated at 69% compared to 70% in the FY 2017/18. It is noted that during the year under review, the rural population increased by an estimate of over 993,766 persons yet the new water supply interventions covered only 50% of the population increase.

Similarly, access to safe drinking water in the urban areas has increased to 79.1% (up from 74%) of the urban population (in large and small towns) using improved drinking water sources compared to 2018. To greater notice, the water and sanitation services managed by National water and sewerage corporation (NWSC) have now expanded to
cover 253 towns.
However, despite the great efforts by the government to improve sanitation and clean water access in the country, there are a lot of communities still living under poor and inadequate water access. Based on a human right perspective of clean and safe water being a right to every Ugandan citizen, rural poor and vulnerable communities have been hard time victims of inadequate access to clean and safe water. In a time when the economy is very unstable, the increasing need to lower the high prices and taxes on water Access is a major concern to many citizens.

However, with the help of international body agencies like the UN and UNICEF which have come up with programs that are addressing the global crisis caused by insufficient water supply to be able to satisfy basic human needs and growing demands on the world’s water resources to meet human, commercial and agricultural needs. In addition,
the UN international observances on water and sanitation reserved a day to mark the world water Day on 22nd of March every year which aims at raising public awareness of the issues, focusing attention on a particular theme and inspiring action. The UN SDGs program goal 6 is also another initiative that has inspired a lot of actions from both the
private and public sector where organisations come in with an agenda to ensure access to safe and clean water to all.

In relation to the current health risks associated to Covid-19, availability and access to water, sanitation and hygiene services is fundamental to fighting the virus and preserving the health and well- being of millions of Ugandans. The impact of the Covid-19 virus could even be considerably higher on the urban poor, leaving communities that do not have access to clean water at greater risks since fighting the virus requires hygiene.
With the challenging pathways to safe water access still in many parts of Uganda,it is not a surprise that the response to the water governance crisis has taken different forms in many developing countries. In situations of insufficient public budgets, corruption and mismanagement of public funds, the efforts to increase water accessibility has been
made futile to a greater level. In rural areas for example like I mentioned earlier on, specific challenges of lack of safe and clean water are diverse in nature and include contracting of water- borne diseases like cholera, chronic diarrhoea, bilharzia and many others.
Circulating reports from different findings show that water access is deteriorating each single day because of the mismanagement and lack of maintenance of the constructed water facilities since they either get spoilt or dry up.

In refugee settlements for example, the situation is not pleasing either, long queues of children, women and the elderly people struggle to get a gulp or Jerry can of the life- giving resource from boreholes or wells that may also be in bad tire situations. In greater collective efforts to increase cheap, safe and clean water accessibility in wider parts of the country, Uganda is on the path to having wider water accessibility because water is indeed life to the human race.

By Denis Bua Oscar

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