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GEOGRAPHY, POPULATION AND WATER RESOURCES
Uganda, a landlocked country on the equator in central Africa, has a total area of 235 880 km² 15% of which is occupied by freshwater swamps and lakes. The cultivable area was about 16 759 600 ha in 1991, which is 71 % of the total area. The cultivated area is estimated to be 5 027 880 ha, or 30% of the cultivable area.
The total population is nearly 21 million (1994), of which 11 % is urban. The average population density is 87/km², but varies from 20 in the northeast to more than 300/km² in the southeast and southwest. Population growth is 2.6% per year.
Basic statistics and population
|Area of the country||1993||23 588 000 ha|
|Cultivable land||1991||16 759 600 ha|
|Cultivated land||1991||5 027 880 ha|
|Total population||1994||20 621 000 inhab.|
|Population density||1994||87 inhab./km²|
|Rural population||1993||89 %|
|Water supply coverage|
|Urban population||1991||43 %|
|Rural population||1991||43 %|
Agriculture is the mainstay of the Ugandan economy. The sector accounted for 51% of the GDP in 1991 and over 90% of exports, and employs 80% of the employed household population.
Climate and water resources
Rainfall is fairly reliable and varies from 750 mm/year in the northeast to 1 500 mm/year in the high-rainfall areas on the shores of Lake Victoria and around the highlands. Temperatures average about 21°C, ranging from 15° to 30°C. More than two-thirds of the country is 1 000 to 2 500 m in elevation.
Uganda is the 'water tower' of Central Africa. More than 15% of the area is made up of freshwater swamps and lakes, such as Lake Victoria, the second largest lake in the world: 69 000 km² (of which about 29 000 km² is in Uganda) with a maximum depth of 80 m and a capacity of 2 700 km³ The whole of Uganda lies within the Upper Nile catchment, with numerous rivers flowing into Lakes Edward, Victoria, Kyoga and Albert, and also directly to the Nile. The only outlet from Lake Victoria is the Victoria Nile. The main river into Lake Victoria is the Kagera, which rises in the highlands of Rwanda and Burundi. Although not known with precision, water resources are globally estimated at 66 km³/year.
|Average precipitation||1 133||mm/yr|
|Internal renewable water resources - total||39||km³/yr|
|Internal renewable water resources - per caput||1994||1891||m³/yr|
|Global renewable water resources||66||km³/yr|
|Total dam capacity||-||km³|
|De-salinated water||-||10 6 m³/yr|
|- Agricultural||1970||120||10 6 m³/yr|
|- Domestic||1970||64||10 6 m³/yr|
|- Industrial||1970||16||10 6 m³/yr|
|Total||200||10 6 m³/yr|
|as a % of internal renewable water resources||0.5||%|
|Other withdrawal||-||10 6 m³/yr|
|Produced||-||10 6 m³/yr|
|Treated||-||10 6 m³/yr|
|Re-used treated wastewater||-||10 6 m³/yr|
Irrigation and drainage
|Irrigation potential||1991||202 000||ha|
|1. Full or partial control Irrigation: equipped area||1987||5 550||ha|
|- surface irrigation||-||ha|
|- sprinkler irrigation||1987||80||ha|
|% of area irrigated from groundwater||%|
|% of area irrigated from surface water||%|
|% of equipped area actually irrigated||-||%|
|2. Spate irrigation area||-||ha|
|3. Equipped wetland and inland valley bottoms||1987||3 570||ha|
|4. Other cultivated wetland and inland valley bottoms||-||ha|
|5. Flood recession cropping area||-||ha|
|Total water managed area (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5)||1987||9 120||ha|
|- as a percentage of cultivated area||1987||0.2||%|
|- increase over last 10 years||-||%|
|- power irrigated area as % of water managed area||-||%|
|Full or partial control schemes:||Criteria|
|Large schemes||> - ha||-||ha|
|Small schemes||< - ha||-||ha|
|Total number of households in irrigation|
|Total irrigated grain production||-||t|
|as a % of total grain production||-||%|
|Harvested crops under irrigation||-||ha|
|- sugar cane||1987||3 580||ha|
|Drainage - Environment:|
|as a % of cultivated area||-||%|
|Area salinized by irrigation||-||ha|
Withdrawal was estimated at 0.2 km³ in 1970 (Figure 1), of which 0.12 km³ was reported as being for agriculture, which seems to be an overestimate.
In general the country is fertile and benefits from adequate rainfall, offering favourable natural conditions for agricultural production, with the exception of the far north and northeast, where the rainfall is confined to one rainy season. In the south, rainfall conditions permit more-or-less-continuous cropping.
In 1987, the Total water managed area was estimated to be only 9 120 ha, or about 0.2% of the cultivated area. The full or partial control equipped area was 5 550 ha and the equipped wetland, 3 570 ha (Figure 2). On a pilot scale (80 ha), sprinkler irrigation was practiced. Rice, sugar cane, citrus fruits and vegetables are currently the main crops grown under irrigation.
According to African Development Fund (ADF) estimates, Uganda has good potential for an expansion of its irrigated agriculture with the amount of land which could potentially be cultivated under irrigation estimated at 202 000 ha. However, using the Victoria-Nile river and its tributaries, or the larger inland lakes, for irrigation purposes would have serious consequences for irrigated farming and the supply of water for countries to the north, especially Sudan and Egypt.
The institutions involved in irrigation and water development are:
- Department of Agricultural Development (DAD).
- Water Development Department (WDD).
FIGURE 1: Water withdrawal (total: 0.2 km³ in 1970)
FIGURE 2: Distribution of the water managed areas (1987)
TRENDS IN WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
Irrigation developments started in the 1960s, developing settlements using a top-down approach. Those projects are now managed by MAAIF. The schemes are operating with serious difficulties, principally because of budget restrictions.
In October 1991, a FAO project, Assistance in small-scale irrigation, started, with the aim of assisting the Government of Uganda in its strategy of promoting small-scale irrigation by strengthening the national capacity to plan, implement and provide supporting services for irrigated agriculture.
According to that project, rehabilitation of the abovementioned government schemes should first consider the organizational structure which would manage the rehabilitated schemes. Strengthening of farmer organizations and improvement of irrigated agriculture technology is a priority in some schemes; privatization might be a good alternative in other schemes.
MAIN SOURCES OF INFORMATION
Mihajlovich D. 1993. Assistance in small-scale irrigation. Irrigation Engineering Consultancy, project FAO-TCP/UGA/0154.
Statistisches Bundesamt. 1991. Country Profile Uganda.
UNEP. 1988. Strategic Resources Planning in Uganda, Volume IV: Water Resources.
World Bank. 1993. Uganda: Agricultural Sector Memorandum. Three volumes. Report No. 10715-UG.
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