“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” – British-American poet Wystan Hugh Auden (RIP).
River Rwizi, that used to be a beautiful river surrounded by captivating green environment, flowing from the hills of Buhweju in western Uganda up to Lake Victoria, is now in a worrying & deteriorating state due to activities like farming, bricklaying, sand mining, open defecation, littering, among others along its banks leaving it extensively polluted and clogged.
Nile Breweries Ltd-NBL, through its parent company AB Inbev has now donated Ugx2.2 billion in its partnership with World Wide Fund for nature (WWF), Ministry of Water and Environment-Directorate of Water Resources Management & Victoria Water Management Zone, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and River Rwizi Catchment Management Committee, in phase 3 of a series of projects that commenced in 2019 to restore & save River Rwizi especially in 12 districts by 2024. This is in addition to NBL initial support of Ugx505 million & Ugx 715,868,400 towards phases 1 & 2 respectively, for sustainability goal of water stewardship for securing water access.
The 12 districts in the catchment include Isingiro, Rwampara, Mbarara, Rakai, Sheema and others, with series of ongoing restoration & sustainability projects including over 600 people who were peacefully removed from the buffer zone in Kakigani Rwampara district, and groups given heifers, water tanks, agricultural inputs, trainings and other interventions that have since transformed their lives starting with household income & food security.
A total river buffer length of 18km, and total catchment area of 14,567 hectares was mapped for restoration; micro-catchments in the area have been supported and strengthened in best restoration and governance practices. 1076 households are currently undertaking river and wetland management, forest restoration and sustainable land management.
While speaking at the event on 30th March 2022 at Kakigani Church of Uganda (parish) Rwampara district, Dr Florence Adong who is the Director of Water Resources Management – Ministry of Water and Environment disclosed that R. Rwizi emerged as the most endangered river in Uganda from studies done to assess the degraded water sources in Uganda and a good strategy is needed to maintain the flow, quantity and quality of the water resource which requires a lot of cooperation, trust building and confidence.
She added that the mode is based on catchment whereby the government works with many stakeholders including the community to restore the river because water and environment resources go hand in hand and contribute to the economic development of the country, challenging everyone to jointly protect and prioritize them.
Locals, experts and other stakeholders continuously blame the escalating environmental degradation practices like around River Rwizi, in Lwera wetland Masaka, and others, to weak systems, policies and structures causing weak enforcement of different environmental protection interventions.
River Rwizi and its catchment covers about 8200 km2 spanning over 12 district local governments in Western Uganda besides being the main water source for approximately 2.5 million people in southwestern Uganda, and other activities like farming, industrialization, and other crucial sectors. RISE NEWS UGANDA on TWITTER https://t.co/7sq16pixp4