Environmentally Sustainable WASH interventions in Northern Uganda

In mid-2017 WASH Alliance International (WAI) plans to launch a new five year Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program in Northern Uganda. Aidenvironment, through its brand RAIN advised WAI on an implementation strategy for their new program.

The new program will take a river basin approach to WASH guided by environmental sustainability principles. Aidenvironment’s advice focuses on opportunities for integrated water resource management (IWRM) interventions in eight districts in the catchment of the Aswa river, a tributary of the Upper Nile. The interventions are based on a context analysis of the water resources, the different uses of this water, and the possible risks of water availability and quality. It is expected that water demand will soon outstrip availability, especially in the eastern part of the river basin, due to increasing demand from the growing population, climate change effects, and the effects of landscape degradation.

The advice highlights opportunities in the Aswa river basin to mitigate long-term water risks and benefits other water using sectors as well, such as nature, fisheries, energy, and agriculture. The recommendations are a first step in the process to:

  1. improve infiltration of water to sustain borehole and shallow well yields;
  2. mitigate downstream effects of water extraction and contamination;
  3. increase water storage and the natural purification capacity of the landscape;
  4. develop viable alternatives for the use of groundwater.

From an institutional perspective, Aidenvironment advises involving the Upper Nile Water Management Zone and related catchment management organizations as early as possible  in the inception phase of the program. The program should focus on one or more sub-catchments in the Aswa catchment, provide opportunities for synergy between upstream and downstream interventions, and improve rural and small town WASH services. Aidenvironment recommends a mix of practical interventions using water from a balanced variety of sources:

  • tube infiltration sites, to enhance infiltration;
  • recharge zones close to boreholes and shallow wells, by bringing back vegetation in degraded land (for example by enclosures);
  • riverbank protection, wetlands restoration and reforestation;
  • small dams in valleys or placing storage tanks.

This IWRM assessment is accompanied by a WASH assessment of current needs in water, sanitation, and hygiene within the same eight districts. The recommendations of the two assessments are now being integrated.

Click here to read the executive summary of the Analysis.

For more information, please contact Arnoud Keizer.