Water respite for Ugandan fishing villages

For the fishermen of Nkombwe and their families, a good catch makes a world of difference. So too does access to uncontaminated, affordable water. On 22 March, the village will stage celebrations as 45,000 people have now gained access to safe water in the Buikwe District, which covers 39 fishing villages.

The result has been achieved through Buikwe District Fishing Communities Development Programme (BDFCDP) backed by Uganda’s Ministry of Water & Environment and with financial and technical support from the Embassy of Iceland and collaboration with, among others, NGO Water Mission and water technology company Grundfos.

“With the support of partners, especially Water Mission, the Icelandic embassy and Grundfos, Buikwe District celebrate the big achievement now reached of providing safe water to communities living in fish landing sites,” said Kigongo Mathias, chairperson of Buikwe District. He added:

“More children are becoming healthy and attending school. Women and men are getting more productive with general conditions of living improving daily. Overall, the programme has installed a renewed sense of optimism in the fishing communities, who can now glimpse a bright future. I appreciate everyone involved in this noble cause.”

Long-term financial model
Villagers tap the water from electronic water points operated through a total of 107 Grundfos AQTap water dispensers (Water ATMs). These also handle payment with prices set low and controlled by the local authority. This financial model is part of a long-term plan to ensure reliable operations and necessary maintenance.

Water and sanitation solutions have been implemented in villages in Najja, Ngogwe, Nyenga and Ssi sub counties on the Northern shores of Lake Victoria. Because of the new water schemes, access to safe water increased from 58 percent in 2015 to 77 percent in 2018.

“The results clearly illustrate the difference we can make when the right partners come together and share their core competences. We are committed to improve the livelihood in these fishing communities and, as a basic human need, access to safe water is the foundation from which we can pursue our overall ambitions to improve health, education and employment in the Buikwe district,” says Unnur Orradóttir Ramette, Icelandic Ambassador to Uganda.

A broader commitment
The project illustrates a broader commitment to improve water safety in Africa through joint ventures between local and international partners.

“This project has been an opportunity to provide long term best-in class safe water solutions to last mile communities through sharing our expertise in solar water pumping and innovative management models.

We are committed to a continued collaboration with partners to see the lives of people in need of safe water transformed within Uganda and beyond,” says Michael Bazira, Country Director, Water Mission Uganda.

To carve out the required water sources, 23 boreholes and one protected spring have been setup to contain 24 solar-powered mini piped water systems featuring Grundfos pumps.

“It is absolutely imperative that we keep contributing our technical expertise and innovative solutions to projects like this. I am grateful that we have been able to work with highly ambitious partners who share our vision regarding UN Sustainable Development Goal 6. We want to implement innovative and efficient solutions that make a real difference. Not only in Uganda but across Sub-saharan Africa,” says Mads Nipper, CEO and Group President, Grundfos.