Stressing the vast importance of water to livelihoods, Ms. Joyce Ikwaput Nyeko the Ag. Director for Fisheries who is also the commissioner aquaculture at the Agriculture Ministry, warned Nile Basin countries on water quality baseline. According to Ms. Nyeko, if the countries that share water resources have a joint collaborative mechanism for managing the fisheries resources that live in these waters, they can be able to ensure food security, employment, income and therefore improve livelihoods of those people who are dependent on fisheries.
“We jointly need to suppress pollution and ensure good quality of water bodies,” appealed Ms. Nyeko. She made the remarks while closing the 7th Nile Journalists Media Training which ran for ten days at Water Resources institute in Entebbe. The training was organised by Nile Equatorial Subsidiary Action Program Coordination Unit (NELSAP CU) to build good relations with the media.
Mr. Sowedi Sewagudde the Assistant Commissioner international and trans-boundary water affairs in the ministry of water and environment said, ”We feel we haven’t yet exhausted the potential of the Nile and we believe by working together we can optimise the benefits within the basin in general.”
He noted that there’s huge potential for irrigation and hydro power. “For example, about 3,000 megawats of potential hydro power in Uganda alone is possible to be exploited, but currently we are exploiting close to 1,000 megawats. The irrigation potential for Uganda alone is about 3 million hectares but when you look at what our irrigation is, we aren’t even reaching 200,000 hectares,” remarked Mr. Sewagudde.
He appealed for joint programs such as developing the Angololo multipurpose dam on the border of Uganda and Kenya which has a potential of about 3,000 hectares of irrigable land and about 40 million cubic meters of water to be stored.
Mr. Sewagudde also mentioned another joint leaf project being undertaken with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to support the ongoing efforts of constructing or improving communication between Uganda and DRC. “We are looking at how can we promote navigation on lake Albert as well as Lake Edward, and we believe this project could be instrumental in exploiting potential in other countries,’’ opined Sewagudde.
There are some other projects between Uganda and Tanzania along the Kagera, where there are ongoing construction works for power facilities to be owned by Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda. Dr. Michael Kizza, the Deputy Executive Director Nile Basin Initiative said, Journalists help in raising the visibility and awareness of issues to do with the Nile Basin and Nile cooperation.
“Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) is aware that the role of journalism entails a significant obligation and responsibility, the discharge of which requires journalists to have high ethical standards and to practice sound professional journalism with intelligence, accuracy, objectivity and fairness,” noted Dr. Kizza.
“Our aim is to create an environment where journalists are able to access a variety of accurate knowledge, information and expertise thereby helping ensure high quality reporting, which is fact based, balanced and non-sensational,” He added.