The state-owned National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) is determined to extend clean water infrastructure and sewerage to the entire nation. Progress is fast as well-managed services pay for new investment and upgrades
As a public utility, NWSC is keenly focused on its own responsibility amidst Uganda’s bid to become a middle-income nation – supplying running water to all citizens. In the towns and cities, the task has been met with excellent results, but the countryside continues to pose a greater challenge.
“When this corporation started in 1986, we were only in about six towns in Uganda. By 2011 we were in 23 towns, and now we are 226,” says Silver Mugisha, who joined the NWSC 24 years ago as an engineer and is now the managing director.
Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation is committed to ensuring that everyone in the country has access to clean water supplies. Photo: NWSC
To Mr Mugisha, the equation is simple: greater efficiency leads to better financial results and the possibility of investing more in improvements. “We try to eliminate wasteful expenditure. That’s why our building has gone from 80 kilometres a year four years ago to over 1,000. This year we are going to extend the network by 2,000 kilometres. Not many public corporations in Africa break even, let alone invest in improvements.”
But, the NWSC chief points out, to pump on all cylinders, Uganda needs greater inward investment so more local businesses begin manufacturing equipment and supplies, from water meters to pipe fittings and chemicals.