This week The World Bank selected The Water Trust to map water access and functionality across three districts in western Uganda, covering 3,500 water points serving one million people. This project will also measure water point functionality across more than 900 water points where The Water Trust has trained self-help groups, which are savings and credit cooperatives that maintain a reserve fund to pay for water point maintenance and repair.
This project supports The World Bank and the Government of Uganda’s ambitious agenda to expand rural water access and improve the sustainability of existing water points, many of which are falling into disrepair due to a lack of appropriate management and maintenance. “We are excited to help the Ministry of Water and Environment and The World Bank to identify the gaps in rural water to inform future investments, and happy to see how functionality and sustainability changes with the presence of a self-help group,“ said Grace Alupo, Country Director of The Water Trust.
Government funding for rural water and sanitation in Uganda has declined by 80% since its peak in 2000. The World Bank is funding the Government of Uganda to arrest this decline with water sector allocations that will target localities with below-average water access and seek to improve the functionality and sustainability of existing water sources. Local governments will be evaluated on their management of facilities and their effective prioritization of high-need communities for new facilities.
Yet, at the moment, current water access and functionality is unclear. The government’s last water point census was 15 years ago, and the updates provided each year since then have often been incomplete and unreliable. This project is the first step to providing the clarity needed to target investments where they are needed most.
The Water Trust brings to the project 14 years of experience expanding and monitoring water access in western Uganda, and five years implementing its self-help group program to improve water point sustainability.
“As an organization that has shaped all of our work to support rural water sustainability, this initiative is a perfect fit,” said Chris Prottas, Executive Director of The Water Trust. "We are excited to get a comprehensive picture of water access and sustainability where we work, and optimistic about the impact of self-help groups we will find.”
Following this project, The Water Trust hopes to support a nation-wide water point mapping as well as scaleup of its self-help group for sustainable water program.