CAIRO: Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Abdul Muttalib said on Monday that Egypt is cooperating with Uganda to provide more than 200,000 Ugandan citizens in remote villages with clean water resources, by providing specialized training courses in Egyptian ministry training centers for Uganda’s water resources technicians and engineers.
Muttalib announced in a statement that Egypt is signing a technical and bilateral cooperation protocol that includes a well drilling project. He said Egypt is financing the project with $4.5 million, and a number of Ugandan trainees will be taking courses in designing tanks for groundwater management and rainwater storage to use during times of drought.
Thousands of Ugandans are at risk of serious food and water shortages due to droughts attributed to the La Niña weather phenomenon, which has led to severe water shortages and famine in parts of the country. The crisis has also led to poor rainfall and wells that have dried up in some of Uganda’s 36 most impacted districts.
Residents are often forced to travel long distances in search of water. Heat from the sun and dry lands leads to fire outbreaks. The drought has also affected electricity generation in Uganda, as water levels have fallen in rivers such as Nile streams in the Aswa, Ayugi, Unyama and Pager, and the Amuru and Kitgum districts are drying up. Torrential rains in 2010 also caused water-logging and the rotting of crops.
The Egyptian minister witnessed during his visit to Uganda the inauguration of 10 wells out of a total of 75 that will be drilled, the statement said. The wells will provide water for 3,500 Ugandan families (an estimated 25,000 individuals) in four different provinces in Uganda. Another 25,000 families (an estimated 200,000 individuals) will also be provided with water resources, the statement said.
Originally published in Youm 7.