ARUA. The Ministry of Water and Environment has launched the Albert Nile catchment management plan (CMP) aimed at providing guidance for sustainable development and management of water resources along the Nile belt in West Nile and other parts of Northern Uganda.

During the launch at Heritage courts hotel in Arua town on Wednesday, officials from the ministry said the CMP was based on the guidelines for Uganda’s catchment-based water resources planning of 2014.

The Albert Nile CMP drains from an area of 21, 234 square kilometers from the West Nile and Northern Uganda, covering 11 districts of Adjumani, Amuru, Arua, Gulu, Koboko, Maracha, Moyo, Nebbi, Nwoya, Yumbe, and Zombo.

According to Albert Orijabo, the Assistant Commissioner with the Directorate of water resources management in the Ministry of Water and Environment, over the years, they have been noticing that the water resources of Uganda have been facing significant challenges like encroachment on wetlands, forests and tree covers.

He said with the rapid population increase, the demand for water is too much yet there is a lot of water pollution and discriminate waste disposal.

“As a sector, we recognized these challenges and we decided to introduce the integrated water resources management approach or the catchment water resources management.

Ideally, this is a framework where we get in all the stakeholders within the catchment and identify the water resources related issues and develop a plan,” said Orijabo.

“After identifying the social and environmental issues, we developed a mitigation plan and that is what we are launching today for the case of the Albert Nile catchment area,” Orijabo told the different stakeholders during the meeting.

He observed that the Albert Nile CMP is a framework they think as a Ministry that can work because it is stakeholder driven; looking at the communities to identify issues and prioritize them for action in a bid to save the water resource in the region.

Orijabo said the CMP is a government project with funds from the World Bank that will look at aspects of the plan in which they have identified certain actions which will be implemented within a specific time frame.

He encouraged district local governments to pick up the aspects of the plan; enforcement, demarcation of wetlands and tree planting.

While launching the Albert Nile CMP, Mr. John Birombo Orwiny, the Zombo district Chairperson who doubled as the Chief guest said the plan has given them an insight of the Albert Nile action plan which they have understood and ready to implement.

He said water is life and as such, it is upon the leadership within the Albertine catchment area to ensure that the plan is well implemented so as to have a sustainable way of saving the water resource in the area.

“For example, we have Nyagak River which generates for us power in the region but of late, the water levels have gone down and on top, human activities along the river right from DR Congo and Uganda have greatly affected the river. Therefore, we as members of the Albert Nile CMP should come up and do something about the river so that we can have sustainable power in the region,” Orwiny said.

West Nile district leaders 07 02 19West Nile district leaders pose for a photo after the launch of the catchment plan.