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Abbreviations and Units

The materials in Herrera-Camacho 1997 and 1998, and Garduño 1998 and 1999 have been summarized and consolidated in this report. FAO assisted the Government of Uganda in the implementation of a water rights administration system. This assistance was provided through two initial missions by Mr. Oscar Herrera-Camacho and two later missions by the author. The temporal dimension of the account in this report may be better understood by keeping in mind the following dates:

· May 19, 1995. Adoption of the National Environment Statute.
· September 22, 1995. Adoption of the Constitution of Uganda.
· December 22, 1995. Adoption of the Water Statute.
· February 15 to March 17, 1997. Mr. Oscar Herrera-Camacho´s first mission to Uganda.
· March 22, 1997. Adoption of the Local Governments Act.
· November 1 to December 7, 1997. Mr. Oscar Herrera-Camacho´s second mission to Uganda.
· July 20 to August 14, 1998. Author’s first mission to Uganda.
· August 21, 1998. Adoption of the Water resources regulations.
· August 21, 1998. Adoption of the Water (Waste Discharge) Regulations.
· January 5-31, 1999. Author’s second mission to Uganda.

The first consultant analyzed the Water Statute and made some recommendations regarding the first draft of the Water Resources and Waste Discharge Regulations. He also suggested the organizational structure for the Water Rights Administration Unit and a first implementation workplan. Taking into account progress achieved in August of 1998, the author revised the workplan and made further recommendations regarding implementation activities during his two missions to Uganda. He made a first appraisal of progress during his second mission. In April, 1999 the DWD reported on progress regarding various implementation issues. The author submitted his final recommendations also at that time.

Abbreviations and Units


Biochemical Oxygen Demand


Danish International Development Agency


All districts in Uganda


Draft legal provisions to clarify and simplify existing legislation


Directorate of Water Development


Environmental Impact Assessment


Environmental Impact Statement


Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Government of Uganda


Ministry of Water, Lands and the Environment


National Environment Management Agency


National Resistance Movement


Resistance Council


Terms of reference




Uganda Constitutional Commission


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


Water Action Plan


Water (Waste Discharge) Regulations


Water Policy Committee


Water Right Administration System


Water Rights Administration Unit


Water Resources Management Department


Water Resources Regulations


Water Statute




square kilometer


livestock units


liters per second


cubic meters per second


2.1 In order to estimate the number of existing water users for which the Water Resources and Waste Discharge Regulations are mandatory, and for which the Water Statute 1995 will cater, it is necessary to know the availability of water resources in Uganda and the projected water demands. A brief description of these topics is given below.

2.2 Unlike its neighboring countries, Uganda is fortunate to possess, in general, an abundance of water resources at the national level. However, very large differences are found in its spatial distribution. Surface water is the main source for a broad range of activities and may be divided into two main parts:

· the Upper Nile System; and
· the remaining river basins of Uganda.
2.3 Figure 2.1 shows the Ugandan river basins superimposed with the political boundaries given by the Districts limits, and Table 2.2. shows an analysis of such superimposition.

Figure 2.1 - Overlap of District and Watershed Boundaries in Uganda

Table 2.1 - Overlap of District and Watershed Boundaries in Uganda

River Basin


Lake Victoria

Lake Edward

Lake Albert

Victorial Nile

Albert Nile



Lake Kyoga

1. Adjumani


2. Apac


3. Arua


4. Bugiri


5. Bundibugyo


6. Bushenyi


7. Busia


8. Gulu


9. Hoima


10. Iganga


11. Jinja


12. Kabale


13. Kabarole


14. Kalangala


15. Kampala


16. Kamuli


17. Kapchorwa


18. Kasese


19. Katakwi


20. Kibale


21. Kiboga


22. Kisoro


23. Kitgum


24. Kotido


25. Kumi


26. Lira


27. Luwero


28. Masaka


29. Masindi


30. Mbale


31. Mbarara


32. Moroto


33. Moyo


34. Mpigi


35. Mubende


36. Mukono


37. Nakasongola


38. Nebbi


39. Ntungamu


40. Pallisa


41. Rakai


42. Rukingiri


43. Soroti


44. Sembabule


45. Tororo










2.4 The Upper Nile system comprised of the Equatorial lakes and the Nile from Lake Victoria to the Sudanese border, represents a huge water resource and is the basis for a broad range of development activities. Three major lakes are located in that system: Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga and Lake Albert. Lake Victoria, one of the largest in the world (69,000 km2), is the basis for all the existing and future major hydropower schemes within Uganda. Urban water supply for the three largest conurbations of Kampala, Entebbe and Jinja is drawn from Lake Victoria, and waste discharge from them empties back into the lake and river system. Presently, irrigation use of water from Lake Victoria is not widespread. The demands on the surface water resources of the rest of Uganda are predominantly for water supply (domestic and urban), irrigation, sewerage and fisheries. Most competition for water occurs in the drier regions of the north-east and south-west. Groundwater resources are presently used for rural water supplies. Aquifers are comparatively low yielding with a limited areal extent and poor hydraulic characteristics. Pumped irrigation is only limited in very restricted areas. Also groundwater is used on a small scale in industrial activities due to the high costs and low yields of wells and boreholes.

2.5 Table 2.2 summarizes the consumptive demand and displays estimates for available resources for comparison. (Water for irrigation is assumed to be drawn mainly from Ugandan streams and only to a small degree from Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga).

Table 2.2 - Projected Demands for Consumptive Use and Resource Availability at Year 2010





Jinja and Kampala

1.8 m3/s


Medium and small urban



Rural domestic


6.9 m3/s



7.1 m3/s


410,000 ha (FAO), or


126.0 m3/s

247,000 ha (HYDROMET) or


78.0 m3/s

186,800 ha (HALCROW)


57.0 m3/s


914.0 m3/s

220.0 m3/s

All data were obtained from the Water Action Plan.
2.6 It is emphasized that the demand figures for irrigation represent estimates of what is technically possible, not necessarily what is realistic in a socio-economic development context. It appears from the table above that comparing total consumptive use and resource availability on a national basis, demands (except for irrigation demands) are only a small fraction of the total resource. However, as was previously mentioned, the water resources are unevenly distributed and high source development costs may give a perception of water scarcity. The ultimate total consumptive demands for all water uses at year 2010 according to the Water Action Plan are shown in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3 - Consumptive Demands for All Water Users at Year 2010











Other water uses



95.97 m3/s

All data were obtained from the Water Action Plan
2.7 On the other hand, very large differences can be found in the water quality of the various river basins. The activities of the various economic sectors in Uganda show almost no attempt to protect the water resources that they are utilizing. Hence, due to the increasing frequency of water quality problems, management and regulations for waste discharges are strictly necessary.


i. Water-Related Institutions
ii. Legal Bases of the Water Right Administration System

i. Water-Related Institutions1

1 This description might need to be updated.
2.8 According to the Water Statute 1995, water resources come under the scope of authority of the Ministry of Water, Lands and Environment and the Directorate of Water Development. The Directorate of Water Development (DWD) is structured with four Departments as shown in Figure 2.2 The Water Resources Management Department (WRMD) under DWD, based in Entebbe, is responsible for the assessment and management of all Uganda’s surface water and groundwater resources in terms of quantity and quality.

Figure 2.2 - Organizational Structure of the Ministry of Water, Land and Environment

2.9 It is actually among the tasks of this Department the granting of water use permits and their registration. The granting of wastewater discharge permits is the responsibility of the NEMA, but there is the possibility that NEMA delegates this authority to the DWD. As at April 1999 this delegation was still pending.

2.10 The approved establishment for the Department was determined in 1995 as part of the Manpower Review in all Ministries. However, since DWD has a high interest in the setting up of an Office for Water Rights Administration, a proposal was made (Herrera-Camacho, 1997) in order to create a new Division under WRMD, specifically to work in water rights administration in Uganda. Therefore, the recommended structure of the Water Rights Administration Unit, within the WRMD, is shown in Figure 2.3. The proposed staff for the WRAU is rather small, as explained in activity 2 of chapter E of this annex. The reasons for this is the bureaucratic restrictions explained in said activity.

Figure 2.3 - Proposed Organization for the Water Rights Administration Unit

2.11 The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) also falls under the MWLE. It coordinates and advises government on matters pertaining to sound management of environmental resources. The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries includes three directorates (Agriculture, Veterinary Services, and Fisheries) whose activities affect water resources management: agriculture through irrigation and land use practices in relation to soil erosion; veterinary services through run-off of chemicals from cattle dips; and fisheries through the intake and discharge of fish ponds.

ii. Legal Bases of the Water Right Administration System

2.12 The Constitution was enacted in September 1995. In its National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy, the need to manage water is recognized. Also, the importance of capacity building and decentralization is stressed both in the National Objectives and in article 176. The Water Statute, quite remarkably, was enacted only three months after the Constitution, in December 1995. This means that, parallel to the process of drafting the Constitution, the Water Action Plan was being prepared and the Water Statute was being drafted, showing thus the top priority that was politically given to sound water resources management.


2.13 From January 1993 to July 1994, the Uganda Directorate of Water Resources (DWD), assisted technically and financially by DANIDA, formulated the Water Action Plan (WAP), which was published in July 1995. Fourteen documents were produced (Box 2.1). Documents 001 to 004 show the results of preparatory work and 005-014 is the actual plan. The author considers this Plan to be a solid foundation for the Ugandan Water Rights Administration System (WRAS). It was indeed an invaluable orientation for drafting the Ugandan water legislation and the process emphasizes how useful it is for a government to adopt a water policy before actually drafting legislation. The comments on the right hand side of Box 2.1 refer to aspects in the WAP useful for the implementation of the WRAS.

2.14 The Plan advocates gradual implementation in order to achieve integrated water resources management and at the same time capacity building. It very rightly states that regulations and management procedures must be tailored to existing capacity and never go beyond it. Significant progress had been achieved from 1995-1998 in Uganda regarding several aspects of the WAP. In order to keep it as a valuable steering tool and to increase its internalization within DWD, the author strongly recommended in his first mission as FAO consultant that high priority be given to the following statement in Document 05 of the WAP: “The preparation of the Water Action Plan has been undertaken by a unit in the DWD supported by Danish technical assistance. During the first stage in Water Action Plan implementation, this unit will be transformed into a permanent Water Action Plan Implementation Unit within the Directorate of Water Resources. With the enactment of the Water Resources Statute and the creation of the Water Policy Committee (WPC), this unit will include the Water Policy Committee Secretariat. The Implementation Unit will have the following functions with respect to implementing the Water Action Plan during this first phase:

· giving general support to the implementation of the WAP Action Program, by carrying out itself those actions within its own scope;

· formulating project proposals for the WAP Action Program, and supporting the DWD and the MWLE in arranging funding for their implementation (whether directly by the GOU or by means of donor support);

· liaising with other projects within the water sector, so that they can carry out some of the monitoring functions;

· assisting the DWD in developing a permit system for water abstractions and waste water discharges (until a permanent operational set-up can take over);

· establishing procedures for monitoring the progress of the preparation and implementation of the WAP Action Program; and

· reporting to the Water Policy Committee (in the first instance, to the WAP Inter-ministerial Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the MWLE) on progress and constraints in the implementation of the WAP Action Program”.

Box 2.1 - The Uganda Water Action Plan



001. WATER ACTION PLAN PHASE I - PROJECT DOCUMENT. Description of the background and requirements necessary for the work in WAP Phase I, including budget.

002. REHABILITATION OF WATER RESOURCES MONITORING AND ASSESSMENT OF SERVICES IN UGANDA - PROJECT IDENTIFICATION REPORT. Background on and proposal for the water resources monitoring project including budget.

003. REGIONAL WATER QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN THE UPPER NILE BASIN - PROJECT IDENTIFICATION REPORT. Background on and proposal for a water quality management project, including budget.

004. WATER ACTION PLAN PHASE II - PROJECT DOCUMENT. Description of the background and requirements necessary for the work in WAP Phase II, including budget.

005. WATER ACTION PLAN - MAIN REPORT. Synthesis of the key points found in the WAP, comprised of the water resources management framework, the action program and guidance on the implementation and monitoring of the plan.

A very important asset of this document is Chapter 5. IMPLEMENTATION.

006. WATER RESOURCES POLICY. Policy document defining a water resources policy with associated management strategies. Outline of areas for further policy development and actions. Preliminary discussion draft of a water supply and sanitation policy.

007. RAPID WATER RESOURCES ASSESSMENT. An assessment of the occurrence, in time and place, of surface and groundwater resources, and a tentative estimate of water requirements and water resources development trends.

This document shows how it was possible to take advantage of available information related to Ugandan water resources availability and development. It can be used as the basis for the planning exercise mentioned in this Annex, in activity 7 of chapter E, and for information which was recommended to distribute at the National Seminar mentioned in activity 3.

008. INSTITUTIONAL AND MANAGEMENT ASPECTS. An assessment of water resources management functions, structures and tools. Proposals for a future management strategy and corresponding capacity building.

The gradual approach to capacity building recommended by the WAP is certainly needed. The management structure and functions at the national, district and community levels, is for the long term a goal to strive for, maybe in 20 years from now. Given the experience from 1995-1998 in Uganda, as well as experiences in other countries, the short term objectives seem to be too ambitious and probably the goal should be to achieve them in the medium term.

009. INTERNATIONAL ASPECTS. An assessment of the international aspects and implications of Uganda’s position in the Upper Nile Basin in relation to water resources.

010. ANNEX REPORT - VOLUME 1 - DISTRICT STUDIES. Collation of district studies for Arua, Mbale, Mbarara, Moroto, Mukono and special studies for Hoima, Kbale and Tororo.

This document was very useful for the author’s field trip and as a valuable source of information on present capacity at the district level. According to the WAP there are no reasons to believe these districts are not representative of the others as far as capacity is concerned.

011. ANNEX REPORT - VOLUME 2 - GROUNDWATER DATA BASE. Groundwater database development description, specification and manual.

012. ANNEX REPORT - VOLUME 3 - MANAGEMENT ASPECTS. Background for preparation of regulations supporting the Water Resources Statute, guidelines for district water resources management and for developing management procedures for issuing permits.

This document was the basis for the Water Resources and Waste Water Regulations. The suggestions for implementation are very useful. They should be updated to the present situation as suggested in activity 9 of chapter E of this Annex.

013. ANNEX REPORT - VOLUME 4 - PROJECTS AND ACTIONS. Description of water resources development plans and projects giving guidelines for prioritization, impact assessments, updating and coordination. Catalogue of water resources projects and actions.

The information in this document may be useful when making rough estimates of future impacts on water availability and quality. It could therefore be used to determine which of Uganda’s river basins should be kept under close scrutiny to start government control at some point in time.

014. WATER ACTION PLAN - EXECUTIVE SUMMARY. A concise short version of the set of strategies, actions and guidelines constituting the WAP, also giving a key to the documentation.

It was recommended to distribute this document at the National Seminar mentioned in activity 3 of chapter E.

2.15 During his first mission, the author also stated that additional to establishing permanent follow-up to the WAP implementation, the setting up of the Implementation Unit would have two benefits: a) there would be a lighthouse for capacity building and b) there would be information on the WAP progress which could provide feedback to the Water Policy Committee and help it in establishing the guidelines for reviewing and updating the Plan, as required by the Water Statute, 1995.


i. Phased and Gradual Approach to Implementation of the Water Rights Administration System
ii The Main Bottleneck: Meager Capacity
iii. A Pragmatic Recommendation: Filing of Application Documents
iv. Framework for Decentralization
v. The Core Recommendation: Make Water Legislation Consistent with the Water Action Plan

i. Phased and Gradual Approach to Implementation of the Water Rights Administration System

2.16 According to Herrera - Camacho, 1997, taking into account the water resources availability and use discussed in Chapter A of this case study, and in agreement with the National Water Plan (WAP), four major principles are the basis for implementing a phased and gradual approach:

· Only the most significant water abstractors will be subjected to regulation at the beginning of the program. This decision is backed up by the following differences that exist between the various regions:
* availability of water resources; and
* the economic, regulatory and managerial capacities available in 1997 to cope with burdens and tasks imposed by the Regulations.
· However, in the future the intention is that all the water abstractors will require a permit.

· The administration of water permits should take place at the District level. In 1997, due to the inadequate District capacity, the government at the national level was responsible for the administration of water abstraction permits. However, due to the increasing number of water users which were expected to be subject to Regulations and to the increase in conflicts over water which were expected to arise in the country, it was proposed that decentralization of water permits would be necessary in the short term. The Districts would then be responsible for:

* helping in the implementation of water permits and of the relevant Register;

* periodically examining the possible combined effect of abstractors who do not require a permit or who are not regularized and assessing whether these effects warrant local regulation; and

* the monitoring of compliance of water users with the terms prescribed in their permits.

· The discharge of wastewater effluents directly to a water body is subject to a permit.2 However, due to the limited existing administrative and technical capacity and laboratory facilities, a phased and gradual approach was also envisaged, by:
2 Applications will be approved by the DWD after hearing local government and affected public and, when the NEMA deems it necessary, will subject it to an EIA.

* At first concentrating on only a limited range of polluting activities.

* Focusing on BOD, as a basis for levying charges for discharging above permitted levels. For other pollutants above the specified levels no tolerance would be allowed. The values were set for other pollutants in August 1998 and were then being harmonized with those of neighboring Tanzania and Kenya. At that time, these values had already been published in the gazette for public comment.

* For water resources management, it is necessary to license drilling contractors. These are required to file and report hydrogeological data every three months. However, the administrative burden on the government would be substantial, because apart from the administration of this sort of professional license, additional licenses and permits are required for groundwater development in respect of persons wishing to drill a borehole and afterwards for the abstraction of groundwater.

2.17 It has been estimated that 400 existing users (200 abstractors and 200 dischargers) will have to be regularized. The users requiring regularization fall into the following permit categories:
· Water abstraction permits.3
3 Population centers of less than 5,000 inhabitants and irrigated areas of less than 2 hectares will be exempted of the requirement to apply for permits.

* water supplies to the main seven cities and 60 towns with populations exceeding 5,000 inhabitants;
* major agricultural and irrigation user organizations;
* dams for livestock water supply above the threshold value fixed in the Regulations;
* industries with water supplies different from urban distribution networks; and
* one existing hydropower generation facility.

· Waste discharge permits.4
4 The FAO has recommended that rural, irrigation and livestock discharges be controlled in another phase of the program.

* effluents from the three major cities, which contain organic and industrial compounds;
* effluents from the next four larger cities and 60 towns with more than 5,000 inhabitants; and
* industrial wastes discharged directly to Lake Victoria and the Victoria Nile, by the following industries:

- abattoirs and meat processing industries;
- breweries;
- distilleries;
- engineering workshops and garages;
- leather tanning industries;
- oil and soap industries;
- paper industries; and
- soft drink factories; and
- textile industries.

ii The Main Bottleneck: Meager Capacity

2.18 The 1995 Water Action Plan states that the required functions for water resources management comprise:

· policy making, planning and coordination;
· water abstraction regulation;
· wastewater discharge and pollution regulation;
· monitoring;
· enforcement;
· mediation; and
· training and information dissemination.
2.19 However, the said Plan also states the following restrictions for implementing the above functions:
· management tools, such as policies, guidelines, standards and regulations are not available;
· interfaces between authorities and the division of responsibilities are unclear;
· shortage of qualified staff; and
· severe lack of resources such as finance, transport, equipment and facilities.
2.20 Moreover, the WAP states that for the management of water resources “the lowest possible level in 1994 was the central level”, and called for an important capacity building program which would take five years to substantially upgrade the available capacity. The field observations of the author in 1998 confirmed the lack of capacity at district and local levels. It also appeared at that time that even the central level had no capacity to manage a water rights administration system. A single person, with no adequate working premises was in charge of the Water Right Administration Unit. It was then clear that capacity would not suffice to regularize even the estimated 400 users. Furthermore, progress in capacity building in the area of water rights administration was non existent.

iii. A Pragmatic Recommendation: Filing of Application Documents

2.21 By 1 September 1998, 34 applications for water and waste discharge permits had been received by the DWD. Complex cases usually require a thorough analysis of the supporting documents. This is because it is necessary to:

· achieve a shared knowledge, understanding and approach to the problem by all persons participating in the determination of the application;

· brief officials;

· be prepared to discuss the issue in the future with the applicant or relevant authorities;

· be prepared to respond to future appeals from the user; and

· build up the “administrative and technical capital” required for Water Rights Administration.

2.22 This kind of analysis requires training and is time-consuming. It took the author three full days to examine a single application, which was selected as a representative complex case. Additionally, a visit would be required to verify in the field certain aspects of the application. But, before an analysis can be made the documents related to the application should be properly filed. To do this, it was recommended that all documents in the Water Rights Administration Unit (WRAU) and other offices of the DWD which were related to applications, should be filed together from the start. Once the documents are properly filed together in the application file, a detailed analysis can be carried out when needed. The overview of the 34 applications pending and the detailed analysis of the sample complex case showed that the most urgent and important activity at that moment, regarding the implementation of the water rights system, was to properly organize and safeguard all documents, according to the guidelines shown in Box 2.2. A qualified national librarian, with experience in processing documents, was to be contracted to do this work with all the available application documents, according to the terms of reference shown in Box 2.3.

Box 2.2 - Guidelines for the Purging and Formation of Each File

· Make one file for each application, regardless of the fact that the same applicant requests different types of permits for the same installation or the same kind of permit for different installations.

· In cases where one person submits one application for two or more types of permit or for two or more permits of the same kind, copy the respective documents and put together one self contained file for each one. The coding system will have to take this situation into account so that it is possible to distinguish between each of the cases which require individual attention. For example, when there is a person applying for a permit to abstract water from several wells for the same purpose and from the same installation, and from the same aquifer, it will have to be decided if several permits or a single permit with an attachment for each well, should be issued.

· Separate each self-contained document, even if it is an annex of another document, since it may be necessary to look for it in the future. This is usually the case when a reference mentioned in the main document is attached to it.

· However, attachments which are an integral part of the document, such as a location map in an application, should be kept with the main document.

· Documents with a horizontal format should be placed such that they are read by turning the file clockwise.

· Staple each document (do not use clips because papers may get mixed up and even lost).

· Include only one copy of each document in the file of originals, preferably with the original. If the original is somewhere else, indicate where and designate a readable copy as the file’s “original”. If the original is lost, indicate so. Include more than one copy only if additional copies contain relevant manuscript information or the stamped date of reception (preferably the original stamp).

· Use a light yellow marker to highlight the sender, recipient, date and relevant words to make up a one line description of the document (Often the “subject” is not clear enough or even misleading). Use a red marker to further highlight the date. Also with red ink, write the consecutive document number of the file, the consecutive number of the document and the application code in the upper right hand corner as well as the word original if in fact that document is the original one or “original” if it is the designated original. Alternatively, the information “in red ink” can be stamped with a seal on the upper right hand corner of the cover page of each document.

· Once the original documents are properly filed, safeguard the file in a place which has restricted access except to approved personnel and where there is minimum risk of theft and fire. Then, make a working copy from which other copies will be made if and when they are required.

· Complement the file with all references mentioned in the documents.

· The available documents should be arranged in chronological order, putting the most recent one at the top. A consecutive number would then be assigned to each one, starting with the oldest document. Further documents should be assigned the consecutive number as they come in, regardless of the date the document was issued. They can be sorted afterwards in any desired order if a database is used. It is suggested that, for library control, advantage is taken of the ISIS database developed by UNESCO, which is distributed free of charge

· Store the files in adequate cabinets and in a room with adequate working conditions, such as a working table and proper lighting, and which is both theft and fire-proof. In order to save space, they can be stored consecutively as they arrive, since with help of the database they can be easily located. Two identical labels should be put on the front and spine of the file with its consecutive number, the application code and the name of the applicant.

· Environmental Impact Statements require different treatment since they are usually bulky documents and are bound. First of all, applicants and environmental consultants should be required to deliver their EIS both as a magnetic file and as a hard copy. The document should be bound in such a way that an identification label can be placed on the spine and on the front cover, and that pages can be taken away to be copied without damaging the document. A coding system must be specified to facilitate cross referencing to the respective application. Finally, the application file must contain a copy of the front page, the table of contents and the executive summary of the respective EIS.

Box 2.3 - Terms of Reference for a Librarian

Besides the information shown in Box 2.1, the librarian should be supplied with the following information:

· the number of files, documents and pages available at the WRAU;
· the locations where more documents should be searched and the estimated number of documents; and
· the coding procedure and information for coding each application.
Applications should contain at least the following:
· documented experience and samples of similar projects;
· quality control measures to be taken by him or her; and
· a detailed budget.
The librarian- contractor should provide the following information and tools:
· an “original” file and a “working” file of each application;

· specifications and the budget required for computing equipment, filing cabinets and stationery, which will cover the file applications received during 1998 and 1999;

· suggestions and the budget related to the scanning of relevant documents from each application;

· the ISIS database with the information on all documents properly loaded and an operation manual; and

· specifications related to theft and fire-proofing.

iv. Framework for Decentralization

2.23 The political framework is shaped by the importance given nowadays to decentralization in Uganda, which can be traced back at least to the seizure of power by the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in 1986. The NRM made two important contributions, namely: the establishment all over the country from village to district level, of an intricate but operational structure of Resistance Councils (RC), and the creation of the Uganda Constitutional Commission (UCC). This Commission’s experience as well as the RC structure would be very valuable in fostering the required public participation in Ugandan water resources management. One of the eight guiding principles which emerged from the consultation process used in the making of the constitution, was to “establish a strong decentralized and devolved system of government as the basis for effective local governments”. It is therefore important to decentralize some water resources management functions, in order to contribute to the Ugandan democratization process.

2.24 The legal framework for decentralization has been established in the Local Governments Act, which provides for the central Government retaining water resources management unless a District Council or a lower Council requests to be delegated that function. However, in order that such delegation is effected, according to section 33 of the Act, all parties are required to be in agreement and adequate resources must be provided.

2.25 The following analogy is useful to grasp some of the aspects of the technical framework that should be considered in order to test the feasibility of decentralization. The Local Governments Act specifies that construction and maintenance of major drains shall remain at City or Municipal Council level. This is logical, since major drains usually trespass Division boundaries and to achieve the required integrated design and operation, a single authority must retain control over such drains. By the same token, it would not be advisable to devolve water resources management to each district within their respective watershed portions. This is clearly demonstrated in Figure 2.1 and Table 2.1, which show the boundary overlaps of 45 districts and 8 river basins in Uganda. The last row of Table 2.1 shows that all watersheds are shared by at least two and up to twenty districts. This means that the permitting of water abstraction or waste discharge cannot be managed independently in one district without affecting several other districts.

2.26 Within the above multi-dimensional framework, it must be considered that, besides the present lack of capacity in the Districts, the following provisions in the Local Governments Act may hinder the decentralization of water resources management:

· The administrative and coordination burden imposed by the Act on the District and community levels is such that it seems unlikely they will have resources to spare for water resources management.

· Presently at central level there is not enough capacity to prepare guidelines and then to deal with the required monitoring of delegated functions.

· Financial and staffing provisions in the Act do not consider specifically providing resources for water resources management. Competition for scarce resources will be so intense, that it is unlikely that they will become available for this purpose. But on the other hand, the power to levy taxes at the District level may make devolution of water resources management an interesting option for the District-level administration. It is necessary to sensitize political leaders to the fact that money collected from water resources management should be devoted only to that purpose and not to finance solutions to other problems in the District.

2.27 The above rationale makes it clear that decentralization - however desirable this be - should proceed cautiously and go hand in hand with capacity building.

v. The Core Recommendation: Make Water Legislation Consistent with the Water Action Plan

2.28 As mentioned in Chapter C, the WAP has advocated simple procedures for granting water use and for waste discharge permits, and a gradual approach to implementing them, which is consistent with the regional differences within Uganda and the existing institutional capacity. This sub chapter therefore discusses the consistency of the Water Statute, 1995 and the Water Resources and Waste Discharge Regulations, 1998 with the above principles of simplicity and gradualism.

2.29 According to the WAP, only those water uses that may have an impact on the water resources should be regulated. The corresponding suggested criteria for levels of water abstraction regulation are reproduced in Table 2.4. Table 2.5 is an updated version of said table, taking into account the Water Statute and Regulations published in the Gazette.

2.30 Comparison of Tables 2.4 and 2.5 shows that the simplicity principle stated in the WAP was in fact followed in the Water Statute. The Water Resources Regulations follow this principle, because there is still a large number of small users who will not require a permit. Also definitions such as domestic use and threshold values such as 0.5 hectares for a subsistence garden, required for implementation, were provided. However, there is one minor drawback: there is no definition for a “non-consumptive use”. And one major one: the period of one year to register existing users provided for in the Regulations is deemed to be unrealistically short given the present capacity of the DWD and the bureaucratic restrictions mentioned in activity 2 of chapter E. On the other hand, the Waste Discharge Regulations do not follow the same simplicity principle, as will become apparent from the discussion bellow.

Table 2.4 - Criteria for Levels of Water Abstraction Regulation According to the WAP




No regulation

Domestic use as defined in the Water Resources Statute.

· domestic use as defined in the Water Resources Statute; and

· abstraction by manual means.

Registration required

· abstraction of water by motorized pump or by gravity diversion with a capacity < 5 L/s;

· non-subsistence irrigation schemes < ... ha; and

· non-subsistence fish ponds <. ha

Permit required

Abstraction by mechanical, electrical or other equipment, except for domestic use.

· abstraction of water by motorized pump or by gravity diversion with a capacity > 5 L/s;

· irrigation schemes >. ha; and

· Fish ponds >. ha

Table 2.5 - Criteria for Levels of Water Abstraction Regulation According to the Existing Water Legislation




No regulation

· (WS-7) A general right is granted to use water for domestic use, fire fighting or irrigating a subsistence garden.

* (WS-2) Domestic use: human consumption, washing and cooking; watering not more than 30 livestock units (lu), considering one head of cattle as 0.7 lu, a horse as 0.6 lu, a donkey as 0.4 lu, a goat as 0.15 lu, a sheep as 0.15 lu; irrigating a subsistence garden (not exceeding 0.5 hectares); and watering a subsistence fish pond (where the product is predominantly consumed by the residents and is not sold or bartered).

Registration required

· (WS-34) All permits granted under the Statute as well as any variation, modification, suspension or cancellation thereof, and easements created over land.

· (WRR-10) A person who, at the commencement of the Water Resources Regulations, 1998 was abstracting water

Permit required

· (WS-7) Use of groundwater.
· (WS-18 (2)) “Taking and using” water, constructing hydraulic works

WS-# and WRR-# refer to the number of the section in the Water Statute or the Water Resources Regulations, respectively.
2.31 According to the WAP, in order for implementation to succeed, a simple waste discharge control system should be established. This system should consider only the most important polluting activities and the present institutional capacity. Table 2.6 shows the characteristic pollutants of urban wastewater and the most important industries in Uganda. Mining and oil exploitation industries are also important, but the WAP does not include information on their wastewater characteristics.

Table 2.6 - Characteristic Pollutants Present in Uganda Wastewater Discharges














Urban sewerage treatment plants







Sugar industries




Textile industries











Leather tanning industries








Oil and soap industries




Meat, fish and mild processing industries






TSS: Total Suspended solids

BOD: Biochemical oxygen demand

2.32 The Water Statute, (Section 28) provides for the following which the Minister shall prescribe in any area:

· waste which may not be discharged; or
· trades which may not discharge waste; or
· classes of premises or particular premises from which waste may not be discharged.
except in accordance with a waste discharge permit. On the other hand, the Waste Discharge Regulations establish in Section 4 that no person shall discharge effluent or waste onto land or into the aquatic environment, contrary to the standards established by the NEMA. And in the Third Schedule the Waste Discharge Regulations prescribe the trades and premises listed below, which may apply for waste discharge permits for activities carried out in the whole of Uganda, not for specific designated areas to be controlled.
- Airports,
- breweries,
- mines and processors,
- coffee factories,
- commercial fish farms,
- fish processing factories,
- fruit and vegetable processing factories,
- hospitals,
- leather tanning factories,
- meat processing factories,
- mineral extraction and processing,
- oil factories,
- plastic manufacturers,
- sewage treatment plants,
- slaughtering Works (as may be identified by the Director),
- soap factories,
- soft drink manufacturers,
- steel rolling mills,
- sugar factories, and
- textile factories,
2.33 It is apparent that the Regulations did not take advantage of the flexibility provided for in the Water Statute by allowing trades and premises to be prescribed within specified areas and not necessarily throughout the whole country. Said Regulations also prescribe, in the Second Schedule, the substances discharged by a person who may apply for a discharge permit. The prescriptions mentioned in the paragraph above make it difficult to follow the principle of simplicity stated in the WAP, for the following reasons:
· since the Waste Discharge Regulations do not provide for a grace period when existing polluters may apply for a permit, all of them will become illegal after the date of commencement5 of the related sections of the Water Statute, unless they obtain such a permit; and
5 According to Section 1 (1) (b), of the Water Statute no date shall be appointed to bring into force Division 5 (WASTE DISCHARGE PERMITS) unless the NEMA has delegated its functions to the DWD.
· it will be extremely difficult to enforce said regulations, because of the complexity of monitoring some of the prescribed substances.
2.34 The 54 parameters included in the 1998 draft standards for effluent discharge into water or onto the soil were compared with the 17 parameters included in the Mexican Wastewater Discharge Standards.6 The general conclusion was that a more realistic standard for Uganda should be proposed. Some specific relevant observations were:
6 These Mexican standards were approved in 1996. The comparison was deemed more reasonable than with the standards of a developed country.

· Monitoring of ten of the 54 parameters is costly and difficult to perform by a regular laboratory. Some of them are considered priority toxic water pollutants by the United States Environmental Protection Agency but are seldom present in high concentrations in effluents found in developing countries.

· There are technical inconsistencies in eight parameters.

· The rationale for selecting parameters is not clear. Some of them indicate that the idea is mainly to protect surface water with high aquatic productivity. However, this is contradicted by the fact that the same regulations are intended for disposing of effluents onto the soil. On the other hand, since soils have the capacity to treat pollutants, some of the parameters are irrelevant or their maximum limits are too strict. Moreover, some parameters, like calcium are actually beneficial to soils and other parameters including detergents can be treated by the soil itself.

· A serious problem with the proposed standards is that a single list of parameters cannot regulate the disposal of all types of effluents into or onto all kinds of receiving bodies (lake, river, sea or the soil).

· Some maximum permissible limits proposed for the effluent regulations are so stringent that they are identical to those recommended by the World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water. It was suggested to compare the proposed wastewater effluent standards with the Ugandan drinking water standards in order to ensure consistency.

2.35 A further problem with the implementation of the Waste Discharge Regulations is the institutional aspect. Both the NEMA and the DWD, according to their respective legislations, have some role to play, but their interaction has not been adequately defined. According to the National Environment Statute, the NEMA may delegate any of its functions to any “lead agency” (in this case the DWD). This had not been done as of January 1999 and the draft of the Statutory Instrument proposed by the NEMA does mention said delegation but invoking a section of the Statute that refers to limits to the use of lakes and rivers, not to the delegation of authority. Moreover, the draft imposes on the DWD the condition that in the exercise of the delegated functions it may be subject to prior consultations with NEMA’s Executive Director. However, a full delegation of responsibility and authority - which includes due coordination with and supervision by the NEMA - would facilitate the DWD’s role and it would allow said Directorate to be more efficient and effective in performing its delegated functions.

2.36 In January 1999, the Director of Water Development made the following decisions:7

7 Progress regarding recommended actions is shown in italics.

· The legal provisions making the water regulations consistent with the Water Action Plan would come into force when the deadline for the registration of existing users was nearing, that is, one year after the adoption of the Water Resources Regulations. Therefore, it would not be wise to extend that period by means of the said legal provisions. This could be extended by the Minister perhaps for another year if, say, by July 1999 it was deemed useful.

· The period for registration of waste discharges should be extended and the effluent standard should be consistent with the said gradual approach.

2.37 Ensuing from the Director’s decision, the following draft legal provisions to clarify and simplify existing legislation were offered by the author in January 1999 to the DWD. The intention was not to submit fully-fledged legal provisions, but just to offer the possible contents of either amendments to the existing WRR and WDR or new “Water Resources and Waste Discharge (supplementary) Regulations”. It would be up to the DWD to put these contents into a suitable legal format. In brief, the proposed contents are:
· According to the WRR, persons who were using water before the commencement of the WRR were granted a one-year period to apply for a permit. Therefore the following provision was recommended: “Until 21 August 1999, the DWD will trust any person who declares he or she was making lawful use of water before 21 August 1998, and grant him or her a water permit for a duration of five years.” According to the WRR permits may be granted for a period not exceeding five years. Investors may regard even the maximum duration of five years not to be enough in order to provide security to their investment. However, this short maximum duration may be considered to be an asset during the period when knowledge of water availability and uses is undergoing improvement.8 Therefore, when users ask for renewal of their permits, a better-founded decision would be taken regarding the water volume granted and the duration of the permit.
8 By 2002 it would be worth assessing the usefulness of extending such deadline.
· Given that the present capacity of the DWD is rather limited, control of abstraction and waste disposal should accordingly be limited. Therefore, it was recommended that the following be prescribed:
* Classes of boreholes and works not requiring a construction permit.
* Premises, trades and wastes requiring a waste discharge permit.
* Criteria under which applications for waste discharge permits need not be advertised.
* Exemptions from water and on charges for existing and new users and polluters, provided they comply with certain conditions.
· Finally, it was recommended that waste discharge permits be issued for a five-year term, consistent with the recommended duration of water abstraction permits.

It would be up to the DWD to decide if these draft legislative provisions should be brought into effect by amending the Regulations or by issuing a separate Statutory Instrument. With regards to progress on improving the draft effluent standard, see activity 7 in paragraph 2.38 below.


2.38 In the following paragraphs each implementation and decentralization activity shown in table 2.7, as recommended in September 1998, is described and an account of progress as of February and April 1999 is included in italics. This demonstrates the complexities of implementing a water rights administration system in accordance with the specific history and capacity in a given country and the need for preparedness. The reader is referred to the dates in the box featured in the front page of this case study for a better understanding of the account which follows.

1. Filing Application Documents. As stated in sub chapter D iii of this annex, the most urgent activity was to properly organize and safeguard all documents related to applications on record as at September 1998, according to the guidelines offered in the said sub chapter.

As of January 1999, the recommended software, Isis, had been provided to the DWD, the librarian had been contracted and the progress in filing documents was quite substantial.

2. Recruit Approved Staff and a Lawyer for the Water Rights Administration Unit and Set Up Adequate Premises. The second most urgent action was to set up a truly operational Water Rights Administration Unit (WRAU). As of September 1998, out of the officially approved staff of three persons, only the Coordinator had been recruited and the Unit did not have proper space, furniture, vehicles, computing and telecommunication equipment or stationery. During the initial stage of the setting up process the WRAU would have to keep up with the day to day operations besides doing the analytical work required to determine applications. The determination of some of these applications may require a substantial amount of time and effort. At the same time, the unit would have to conduct, provide input for and coordinate or at least establish the required links with the following activities:9

9 The activity numbers shown in parenthesis refer to Table 2.8

· planning (activity 7);
· development of the implementation tools (activities 6, 9 and 13);
· communication campaigns, both institutional and through the media (activity 12);
· monitoring of whatever functions are decentralized to the District and local levels (activity 14); and
· training and education (activity 15).

Table 2.7 - Implementation and Decentralization Workplan


RESPONSIBLE, participants
































MWLE, International and National Consultants

7 Carry Out a Simple Planning Exercise and Update the Water Action Plan

DWR, International and National Consultants

8 Prepare and Issue an Effluent Discharge Standard

NEMA. DWR, International and National Consultants

9 Prepare and Issue a Second Version of the Management Procedure for Reception and Determination of Applications

WRAU, National Consultant

10 Determine Applications on Case by Case Basis

WRAU, National Consultant

11 Determine Applications Following Guidelines and Procedures

WRAU, National Consultant

12 Register Existing Users and Polluters

WRAU, National Consultant

13 Prepare and Issue a Second Set of Implementation Tools

WRAU, International and National Consultants

14 First Decentralization Stage

WRAU, Districts

15 Training and Education

DWR, International and National Consultants

16 Define a Second Stage for Implementation and Decentralization

DWR, International and National Consultants

Moreover, Water Rights Administration requires that the responsible person, besides managing the Unit, attend meetings with related public and private organizations. This person must also spend time with water applicants as well as monitoring users at their premises all over Uganda. The existing one-man Unit was by no means enough to carry out the activities and functions required. It was not even enough to properly manage and supervise any external national or international assistance. Three staff would not be enough either; but at least the Coordinator would be able to delegate some of his work and the Unit would be able to carry out part of the job while at the same time keeping statistics to demonstrate actual staffing requirements. It was therefore urgent to recruit the other two approved staff, mentioned in paragraph 2.10 and to provide the Unit with adequate office, computer and transportation equipment.

Besides the approved staff of three, it was deemed absolutely necessary to recruit at least one lawyer. This is because engineers have neither the required legal professional education nor the experience to fully understand and interpret the law as well as to apply it properly. By the same token, lawyers lack the water resource knowledge required to manage water rights. Consequently there was a need for both to interact closely from the very beginning while the WRAU office was being set up. Moreover, the Director of Water Development will sign the permits and answer appeals from users. He needs to be sure that legal issues related to both are professionally dealt with thus preventing him from committing illicit acts. Finally, guidelines and some management procedures that will be issued also need to have the proper legal foundation.

The issue of lack of capacity of the WRAU was raised again in April, 1999. It was recommended then to recruit, at least three weeks before the First Regional Workshop (see activity 3 below), the water resources officer, information officer and the lawyer, and set up the office for water rights administration. If this was not done, it was felt that the WRAU would risk losing credibility. The DWD responded that recruitment of staff as recommended was not possible, because even though the Government had approved staffing positions as per a restructuring exercise conducted in 1998, actual recruiting had to wait for public service interviews. However, the WRAU had, through DANIDA support, recruited one technical staff to work at the Unit on a contract basis. Also, the DWD was trying to get a lawyer outside the three approved staffing positions of the water permit Unit, that is, the Senior Water Officer (Water Liaison Unit). Therefore, as at April, 1999, the Unit had a staff of two. Two staff is certainly better than one. It was recommended that, at a minimum, the DWD should commit itself to have the other two on board by a specific target date.

The paragraph above illustrates that implementation of a water rights administration system has to deal with bureaucratic restrictions, and that in the case of Uganda every effort was being made to overcome them. Another positive signal regarding progress was that the fact that the DWD agreed that as of June, 1999 water permitting would receive technical support from external consultants. Hence the technical support from consultants and staff would start building up the capacity of the Unit.

Recognizing the Ugandan reality, terms of reference were prepared for a one-year Technical Assistance project, whose objective would be to facilitate a twinning approach to improve the capacity of the WRAU, through a consulting firm that would support the Unit. However it was stressed that such an approach could be implemented only after the WRAU is properly staffed and equipped.

3. National Seminar on the Implementation of the Water Statute and Regulations. The first FAO consultant recommended in his first report (1997) that a seminar be organized to promote institutional coordination among all persons involved in the Water Rights Administration System. Terms of reference containing the objective, participants, organization and required preparatory activities, were provided by the author to the DWD in order to hold the seminar in January 1999. He stated that, depending on the outcome, it would be advisable to conduct similar seminars every one or two years.

The DWD decided to break up the seminar in two events. The first one, addressed to water users, was carried out on January 14th, 1999, and a second one would be addressed to District officers. In the first seminar, there were around 40 participants, including officials from the DWD and the NEMA, as well as representatives of the main water users in the country. The Minister of Water, Lands and the Environment officially launched the WRR and WDR. The Seminar fulfilled the objective of making water users in attendance aware of the necessity of registering existing water uses and waste discharges and applying for permits in case of new uses. However, even though press and TV representatives attended the Seminar, media coverage was rather poor. For the next seminar, which would be attended by District representatives, it was recommended that the WRAU had more extensive prior contacts with the media. After the first seminar, the users’ response was very positive. For instance the managers of the Uganda Manufacturers Association held a meeting with the Directorate of Water Development with regard to the implementation of the provisions of the Water Statute and Regulations. The Association promised to sensitize its members. Users in general were responding to meet the August 22, 1999 deadline for registering water uses.

Later, the DWD decided to bring District officers, civil servants from other venues and water users together to discuss water resources management, water permitting and draft effluent standards among other issues. It also decided to hold four workshops for the regions instead of one national seminar, the first one in May 1999 and the others in June and July 1999. However the criteria to select the Districts that would participate in the second workshop were not quite clear. Following Figure 2.1 and Table 2.1, the proposed 11Districts are located in the watersheds shown in Table 2.8. Since the participation of Districts should be geared to addressing, among others, intra-watershed and cross-boundary issues between districts, the following questions arose from analyzing Table 2.8:

· How would intra-watershed issues be addressed if not all districts in each one of the three watersheds participate?

· How would cross-boundary issues be addressed if only Iganga and Luwero lie in two watersheds?

· Why does Kampala, which lies in the Victoria Nile and in the Lake Kyoga watersheds and is the most important district regarding water pollution, not participate? And moreover why then the Managing Director of Imperial Gourmet in Kampala should participate?

· The list of private sector users who would participate does not show to which district all of them belong. But it seems that not all districts are represented.

· Why only one representative for most districts, while four from Jinja and Mbale?

Table 2.8 - District Considered in the Original Program for the First Regional Seminar on the Implementation of a Water Permits System

Number of participants



A. Lake Victoria

D. Victoria Nile

H. Lake Kyoga


4. Bugiri


10. Iganga


11. Jinja


16. Kamuli


25 Kumiai10


27 Luwero


30. Mbale


34. Mpigi


36. Mukono


40. Pallisa


45. Tororo

10 Kumiai was referred to as Kumi in Figure 2.X and Table 2.X
In addition, it was recommended that in order that the seminar lead to the desired results the following preparatory work should be carried out:
· Several drawbacks of the Regulations, regarding the difficulty of following a phased and gradual approach had been underlined and Draft Legislative Provisions suggested to overcome them (See sub chapter D v of this case study). Therefore, before the Workshop, the DWD should agree on which of the recommendations for implementation were going to be accepted and how they would be dealt with. Otherwise, during the Workshop, a message could be conveyed which might not be possible to implement afterwards.

· A short document, which could be sent to all participants at least one week before the Workshop, should be prepared by the WRAU stating:

* the overall and specific objectives of the seminar;
* the issues that would be addressed and how they would be coped with; and
* the rationale behind the participants’ lists.
· In order to make the best possible use of the time of participants during the Seminar, the WRAU should also send them in advance a copy of the following:
* executive summary of the Water Action Plan;

* Water Statute;

* Water Resources Regulations;

* Water (Waste Discharge) Regulations;

* papers that would be presented during the Seminar (These could be easily produced by improving and complementing those that were presented during the First Seminar);

* workshop program; and

* list of participants with name, institution, address, telephone and fax numbers.

· In order to be consistent with the principle of integrating water quantity and quality issues, include the Coordinator of the Water Quality Project in the list of DWD participants.

· Hold a meeting with all DWD participants before the Seminar in order to anticipate issues that might be raised by other participants in the Seminar and to discuss how those issues would be dealt with.

· Decide whether the media should participate and, if so, have more extensive previous contacts with their representatives than on the occasion of the First Seminar, and prepare press briefs to be handed during the meeting to ensure accurate coverage

4. Establish Monitoring and Coordinating Bodies. According to the Water Action Plan, a permanent Implementation Unit should be established within the DWD. This Unit would include the Water Policy Committee Secretariat. On the other hand, the Water Statute states there shall be a Water Policy Committee and grants it a central role in water rights administration. It was recommended to establish the WPC as soon as possible, since it would be a great support to the Minister and the Director of the DWD in the implementation of water legislation. However, the WAP Implementation Unit should be established previously within the DWD and the WPC should be provided with a strong secretariat. The Water Action Plan also recommends establishing a DWD Human Resources Development Support Unit. This recommendation was strongly supported in order to be able to carry out activity 15 (Training and Education).

5. In January 1999, the DWD Director stated that the Implementation Unit was needed and that there were institutional provisions to establish it. He also stated that if it reports to the Director it should be headed by a senior official at the level of a Commissioner so that he or she would be able to work with little supervision from the Director and be in a position to gain respect from his peers. Otherwise, such a unit should be under the Commissioner of Water Resources.

With regard to the Water Policy Committee, the Director stated that he had already submitted his views on this issue. The challenge was to integrate the functions of existing committees in charge of rural development and urban water supply with the WPC whose role would be related to water resources management.

· Delegate Authority to the DWD to Grant Waste Discharge Permits. Existing users and potential developers needed to be granted a waste discharge permit as soon as possible. The fact that the Effluent Discharge Standard had not yet been issued and that the NEMA and the DWD were sharing the responsibility for granting permits created confusion among the applicants. On the other hand the Water Statute states that its waste discharge permit Division will not come into force before authority is delegated by NEMA to the DWD. Therefore it was clear that delegation should follow immediately. However, such delegation would be senseless if there was no Effluent Discharge Standard to apply. As stated above, the draft standard was quite unrealistic. Therefore, it was suggested first to improve the said standard, and that the delegation of authority should be granted afterwards.
6. Prepare and Issue a First Set of Implementation Tools. In order to implement the Ugandan water legislation, it was recommended that some definitions be provided which would clarify certain aspects of the Water Statute and the Regulations, and that the following kinds of tools be issued:
· guidelines,
· management procedures,
· training aids,
· technical procedures, and
· user’s manual
Guidelines and procedures are defined in Box 2.4. The intention of this recommendation was to:
· provide tools to DWD staff and enable the use of homogenous criteria for the determination of applications;

· avoid confusing the users;

· make implementation feasible while capacity is being built in the DWD and districts; and

· prevent corruption by limiting the discretionary powers given to the water authorities, by simplifying procedures and by limiting to an absolute minimum the information required from an applicant.

The following Mexican materials were translated into English in order to assist the DWD in preparing their own implementation tools:
· wastewater effluent standards;
· Water Levy Law;
· user’s manual to fill applications for water permits;
· guide to filing documents related to water abstraction and wastewater discharge permits; and
· brochures and press advertisements to promote the registration of water uses in Mexico.

Box 2.4 - Definition of Guidelines and Procedures

Guidelines are defined as criteria applied to water legislation. Guidelines must be prepared for the following aspects and situations:

· simplified approach to the acceptance of applications for water and waste discharge permits, and to the registration of existing users and polluters;

· plans and information required from applicants;

· government support to applicants to choose waste treatment technology;

· how to establish regulations in times of shortage;

· kind of conditions that should be attached to permits;

· how to apply for a permit renewal; and

· how should an inspector carry out a visit.

Technical procedures usually refer to a specified way of making certain calculations, such as:

· the determination of availability and quality in a given water body such as a river, lake or aquifer; and
· the determination of fees for water abstraction and waste discharge.

Management procedures are usually diagrams of detailed work flows showing interaction among different participants and the time expected for the completion of each stage, such as:

· the receipt and determination of applications;
· the manner in which a delegated function should be carried out; and
· the manner in which the Register should be kept.

In January 1999, the following materials were prepared by the author to assist the WRAU:

· A draft User and Applicant Manual, to explain the WRR, which includes:
* clarifications presented as tips to fill in the forms and definition of some useful terms presented in a glossary;
· guidelines to facilitate water users’ and applicants’ understanding of the WS, WRR and DLP, which are interrelated. They explain how to register an existing use and how to apply for a water permit in order to use water as well as how to apply for a construction permit in order to drill a borehole or build hydraulic works;
* reminder to the permit holders of their obligations and the special benefits provided for by the draft legal provisions; and
* guidelines for persons wishing to obtain a drilling permit in order to engage in the construction of boreholes to supply water.
The guidelines are in the form of a reader’s guide in order to encourage users and applicants to take an interest in the water legislation themselves. Therefore, it was strongly recommended that along with the Manual, the DWD distribute the Water Statute, the Regulations and the Draft Legal Provisions described earlier in sub-Chapter D-v

· Guidelines for the WRAU, which specify that during the transitional period, the applicant will not be required to provide more information than that established by the WS and the WRR. It also states that all water permits will be granted for a five-year period.

7. Carry out a Simple Planning Exercise and Update the Water Action Plan - The simple and useful planning exercise described in Box 2.5 was recommended, for completion by December 1999. Besides providing the framework for a gradual approach and for the establishment of a water rights regularization and administration program that could be monitored, it would also help to:
· determine which surface and groundwater watersheds need to be immediately controlled by the Government;

· determine which watersheds must be closely monitored because they may require control in the near future;

· anticipate in which watersheds it may be necessary to establish temporary controls because of water scarcity, from time to time;

· anticipate where it may be necessary to immediately prohibit the use of a water source to protect the health of the public;

· estimate the technical, financial and administrative feasibility of towns and industries building, operating and maintaining treatment plants, so as to establish attainable conditions and realistic dates for compliance in the relevant wastewater discharge permits; and

· estimate potential revenues from the collection of water charges and levies.

Afterwards, this planning activity would consist of the permanent monitoring of the implementation and decentralization strategy which in turn would give feedback for the general up-dating of the WAP.

In January 1999, terms of reference (including background, expected outputs, participants and timetable) to carry out a planning workshop that would provide the necessary support information for the proposed realistic and phased approach, were offered by the author to the DWD

Box 2.5 - Terms of Reference for Carrying Out a Simple Planning Exercise

The planning exercise could be carried out starting with the available information in the WAP, available statistics and if necessary some field checks, and consultation with knowledgeable people in the public and private sectors. This exercise could be coordinated by the Water Action Plan Implementation Unit, mentioned in paragraph 2.14 of this report, funded by a donor and with participation of the various DWD units.

The outcome of the planning exercise could be integrated in a Water Users Population Model. The objective of this exercise is to estimate for each District and Watershed in the country, the number of abstractors and polluters whether they require permits or not, as well as how much water they use and how much wastewater, and of what quality, they discharge, and whether or not they are connected to a water supply or sewage network. Even though the DWD is only responsible for controlling users who abstract directly from and discharge into water bodies, it is also responsible for regulating water supply and sewage systems which in turn have to deal with their own users.

In the planning exercise, it would be advisable to take advantage of ALL available indirect information, such as:

· For domestic and municipal use: the population census and estimated per capita consumption.

· For industrial and services (commercial, tourist) use: census, registers of industrial associations, telephone and electricity consumers, international indices on water use and pollution loads per production unit.

· For agriculture, aquaculture and livestock: census, production statistics, soil use information and indices of water requirements.

As better information becomes available, because statistics improve or because hard data is obtained from metering, the water use indices can be improved and the whole water users “model” would also be gradually improved.

Water Balances and Pollution Potential. With the above information on water use, the water balances in the WAP should be updated, taking into consideration international water agreements, and a proxy to the pollution potential in each watershed could be estimated by simply dividing the estimated pollution load by the available water.

In those watersheds where, according to the results of the water balances and pollution potential explained in the previous paragraph, it is deemed necessary to introduce government control, “S” curves should be drawn that show the cumulative programmed progress of the number of users and the volume abstracted and discharged that is to be regularized. It might result that only the central part of Uganda requires control, because it is well known that this is where most of the industry and population is located. However, it is useful to establish a very simple planning tool that, if updated every 5 or 10 years, can help anticipate other water scarcity and pollution problems.

In critical areas identified with the described screening procedure, formulate terms of reference and a budget for required in-depth studies.

8. Prepare and Issue an Effluent Discharge Standard. In sub chapter D v of this annex, the existing draft standard was discussed and some recommendations for its improvement made, in order to issue a realistic standard which is tailored to fit the particular conditions of Uganda.

In January 1999 this issue was raised again and terms of reference were provided by the author for an international consultant who would assist in initiating the process of issuing the standard. The DWD agreed to meet shortly with NEMA to address:

· delegation of authority to grant waste discharge permits to DWD;
· an effluent standard that can be enforced and complied with; and
· a realistic and gradual approach to pollution control.
Also at that time, it was recommended that the proposed activities oriented towards issuing and implementing a realistic effluent standard and issuing an Applicant and User Manual, be carried out in the following order:
i. carry out the planning workshop;
ii. develop a realistic waste discharge effluent standard;
iii. delegate to the DWD the power to grant waste discharge permits;
iv. publish the Draft Legal Provisions (DLP) in the Gazette; and
v. publish the User and Applicant Manual in the Gazette.
Activities i and ii should be carried out in parallel. However, the DLP should not be published before the waste discharge effluent standard is issued and Division 5 of the Water Statute has come into force once the power to grant waste discharge permits has been delegated by the NEMA to the DWD. Furthermore, the Manual should be published after the DLP are issued, otherwise, the users and applicants would receive three different consecutive messages: a first version of the Manual, the DLP and a revised Manual.

By April, 1999, the author warned that if these issues were not straightened out prior to the seminar, outside pressure might be brought to bear to delay the implementation of the waste discharge permit system, resulting in a loss of credibility of the WRAU. A meeting to be held before the workshop was planned then by the Director of the DWD to discuss these matters with NEMA’s Executive Director.

9. Prepare and Issue a Second Version of the Management Procedure for the Receipt and Determination of Applications. One of the results of carrying out activity 6 could be the production of a simple first version of the Management Procedure for receiving and determining applications. The TOR in Box 2.6 were offered to contract a national consultant for the elaboration of the second version of the Management Procedure. It was suggested that the consultant should work in close collaboration with WRAU staff and that he or she helped to implement the procedure and to train personnel.

10. Determine Applications on a Case by Case Basis. The applications that had been received as of September 1998 and those that would be received during 1999 and 2000 would have to be determined on a case by case basis, so long as guidelines are not available. The author suggested to properly document each case so that the experience could be used as input for activities 6 and 9.

In order to monitor the WRAU’s performance and the users’ response, in April 1999 it was recommended that a simple table with the main statistics of users’ response be prepared. Namely, how many of the 400 expected applications from existing users and polluters have been received and how they have been dealt with. Also, with the cases received and analyzed so far, make a rough estimate of the required capacity in the WRAU to deal with the population of existing users and polluters as well as with expected new applicants.

Box 2.6 - Terms of Reference for Preparing the Management Procedure for Receiving and Determining Applications

Background. Useful materials for this task would be Document 012 “Management Aspects” of the WAP that suggests a procedure for water abstraction regulation. Another useful background document would be the FAO’s First Report on the implementation of a water rights system (Herrera-Camacho, 1997), which includes a flow chart of management procedures for the issuance of water abstraction permits. This chart depicts a clear map of interactions between the applicant, the WRAU and the technical areas of the DWD. It should be updated with the Water Resources Regulations published in the Gazette.

Software. There are many available commercial software packages both for flow-charting and for follow-up. However, given the small number of applications and the usual difficulties associated with implementing new software, it is recommended that the first stage is implemented using only a word processor, spreadsheet software and a database package, all of which are already available at the WRAU. The resulting information system should include an operational manual and be compatible with the existing water permit database. Computerizing the applications forms should complement this water permit system.

Requirements. The procedure for dealing with applications should have the following characteristics:

· Show all participants in the procedure and the role they play:
* the applicant;
* the WRAU (Water Rights Administration Unit);
* DWD technical areas;
* the DWD lawyer;
* the NEMA;
* the WPC (Water Policy Committee);
* other public organizations; and
* private organizations.
· Specify clearly the role of each participant, particularly the decisions each one is responsible for taking, such as:
* the WRAU prepares a technical and administrative statement for each application;
* the WPC approves the statement;
* the lawyer approves the legal aspects; and
* the Director of the DWD signs the permit;
· Specify who should sign which documents.
· Specify the maximum duration each step should take.
· Include a follow-up system which:
* gives early warning on what has to be done;
* keeps statistics on who is taking longer than the prescribed duration;
* establishes pending actions for each application; and
* assures that all requests from applicants are answered on time and in writing.
Stages. During a fist stage of nine months (April-December 1999), the consultant would work hand in hand with the WRAU in order to get deeply familiarized with the work that needs to be systematized. The consultant would then present for approval a detailed description of the work to be done and develop the system during the following six months (January-June. 2000). An additional six months would be devoted to training.

Consultants’ profile. A team of four people with academic backgrounds in business administration, information technology, water resources management and law, preferably with experience in water rights administration, should be hired.

Expected output.

· the information system, with all the applications received up to end of the period of the contract duly loaded;

· statistics of duration and of all the resources used for each stage of the procedure. This would be useful to making future workplans;

· the operational manual;

· on-the-job training of WRAU personnel; and

· terms of reference for completing the required guidelines and procedures for water rights administration that should be prepared under activity 13.

11. Determine Applications Following Guidelines and Procedures. Starting in January 2000, applications would be determined in a more systematic fashion because guidelines and procedures would start to be available. As the implementation tools are developed, the determination process will become more consistent and less discretionary.

12. Register Existing Users and Polluters. Taking into account the media campaign the DWD launched in September 1998, a communication program that should take into account the recommendations in Box 2.7 could support the regularization process.

Box 2.7 - Recommendations for a Communication Program to Support Users’ Registration

Audience and approach. Since it has been estimated that initially only 200 abstractors and 200 waste dischargers will require a permit, it seems that those users could be easily reached by personal communication or through sectional organizations. It would not be necessary to reach them through the media, however brochures of modest but excellent conceptual, factual and design quality would help. The media has a role to play, but in the initial stage the best way of taking advantage of it, is probably to use it to sensitize the population to the water situation and problems in Uganda. As well as bringing to the public attention the positive actions that have been taken so far to address the problem, namely:

· The Constitution, 1995, gives priority to water resources management and the right of Ugandans to have access to clean water and a clean environment.

· The Water Statute, 1995 requires a permit for abstractors, wastewater dischargers, drillers and builders of water-related works as well as certificates of easement for those who need to cross public or private property in order to carry out water-related activities. But at the same time it recognizes that due to regional differences in the country and the different capacities in the various Districts, it will not be possible or even required to regularize all existing users immediately. Consequently, a gradual and phased strategy will be followed in the implementation of the 1998 Regulations.

· The specific results which the GOU, through the DWD has achieved so far, for example the 1995 Water Action Plan and an on going program to improve the hydrometeorological and water quality networks.

Campaign materials:


· The public needs enough background and focus, so that it will get a better understanding of the importance of a permit system.

· It is necessary to distinguish clearly between existing users and new developers.

· Pollution problems must be emphasized, in order to rally the public first to monitor and then to back up the DWD in law enforcement.

Radio. The messages should be written in a simple and easy to understand language, they should be short and geared towards reaching a wide audience.

TV. The image should be consistent with the text.

Printed material. They should be attractive with some simple graphic design. In the September 1998 media campaign, the motto “before you turn it on make sure it is legal” was used. It was deemed to be excellent and it was recommended to take advantage of it more widely.

Information. The communication material should include telephone and fax numbers to obtain further information. The personnel who is going to answer the calls from the public should be well trained on the water rights system and they should be aware of what kind of questions to expect and how they should be answered. It is very important that such personnel project an excellent image of the DWD. No messages should be delivered until the capacity to respond to the public is in place and fully operational.

Monitoring. Surveys should be made at different times in the future, to evaluate the impact of each of the media types. Information will thus be gathered on how well the delivered messages are remembered and what the opinion is on the clarity and quality of the delivered material. This feedback is essential in order to improve continuously the campaign.

Communication should also promote the support of officials from other Ministries, which are in daily contact with large water users. Also it was deemed necessary sensitizing of DWD personnel at all levels. This would contribute to ensuring that everybody agrees on the DWD’s Mission and is fully knowledgeable of those aspects of water and related legislation which are necessary to the better carrying out of individual tasks. This should also take into account the needs of peers, superiors and subordinates, and that all levels abide by the law. A first step towards the required institutional communication would be the National Seminar on the Implementation of the Water Statute and Regulations mentioned in activity 3.

13. Prepare and Issue a Second Set of Implementation Tools. These tools could be improved by taking advantage of the experience gained while using the first version.

14. First Decentralization Stage. Given the existing capacity, the author suggested in September 1998 that at least until 2002 the water rights administration activities at the District and local levels should be limited to keeping an informal inventory of water users and polluters. This activity should be systematized in order that the experience gained provides an adequate foundation for the next stage.

15. Training and Education. Training is required to make the implementation and decentralization strategy feasible. The approach recommended in Document 008 “Institutional and Management Aspects” of the WAP was still valid in 1998. However, specific aspects such as detailed contents, target audiences and schedules should be updated and worked out with more detail to fit the strategy suggested in this chapter. Once the implementation tools suggested in activities 6, 9 and 13 are completed, they should be used as on-the-job training aids.

Worldwide there are almost no formal university courses on water rights administration. On-the-job training is therefore a must. However, universities can provide professional education in areas such as water legislation. In particular in Uganda, the University of Makerere’s Faculty of Law could be approached to provide lawyers with graduate studies and non-lawyers with evening courses.

It was also recommended to approach the Minister of Education in order to coordinate children’s water-related curricula and activities. This would help in alerting the younger generations to the need to control water pollution and to regulate the use of water resources.

16. Define a Second Stage for Implementation and Decentralization. After four years of operation, the results would be evaluated. It is to be expected that by that time capacity would have improved and a more intensive decentralization would be feasible.


Garduño, Héctor, 1998, International Consultant, “Assistance to the GOU in the Implementation of a Water Rights System”, Third Report, FAO Water Law and Policy Advisory Program, GCP/INT/620/NET

Garduño, Héctor, 1999, International Consultant, “Assistance to the GOU in the Implementation of a Water Rights System”, Fourth Report, FAO Water Law and Policy Advisory Program, GCP/INT/620/NET

Herrera-Camacho, Oscar M., 1997, International Consultant, “Assistance to the GOU in the Implementation of a Water Rights System”, First Report, FAO Water Law and Policy Advisory Program, GCP/INT/620/NET.

Herrera-Camacho, Oscar M., 1998, International Consultant, “Assistance to the GOU in the Implementation of a Water Rights System”, Second Report, FAO Water Law and Policy Advisory Program, GCP/INT/620/NET.

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