Assessment of water resources utilization and management in chahi sub-catchment, Kisoro district, Uganda
Tera, Marahi Moses
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There is a growing global concern over the future of the world‟s water resources due to the preceding vulnerability. Some of the factors contributing to the increase in water resources vulnerability include population growth and poor land use practices. This study assessed the local uses and management of water resources and the local coping mechanisms, identified the drivers of water resources scarcity and evaluated the opportunities and challenges of managing water resources in Chahi sub-catchment, Kisoro District, Uganda. To achieve the objectives of the study, the following empirical tools were used; a structured questionnaire, key informant interviews and field observation guides. A total of 100 households and 20 key informants were interviewed. Numerical tools for data analysis comprised descriptive statistics and non-parametric test. SWOT analysis tool was used to examine the challenges and opportunities. The study identified pipe borne water (89%), stream (58%), rain (40%) through roof catchment and vendors (8%) as the major sources of water in the sub-catchment, with domestic (100%) and agricultural (24%) being the major local uses of water. Women played a key role in the management of water sources, making use of the water and fetching of water from the water sources. Construction of water points, maintenance of available water points, fencing of the water source, participatory planning in water management, equitable distribution of water tanks and training on water management were identified by households as interventions to ensure sustainable water supply and management in the sub-catchment. Drivers of water resources scarcity in the sub-catchment included climate change (98%), poverty among the households (80%), population growth (77%), pollution (41%), inadequate information on water management (33%), land use practices (20%) and deforestation (16%). Various coping mechanisms; domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH), water storage during plenty, water pricing, use of earthen pots, moving long distances and innovative agricultural practices were being used by the households. However, not any of all these coping mechanisms considered depicted a significant relationship with the households‟ longevity in the sub-catchment. Major challenges hindering water resources management (WRM) in the sub-catchment are; low coverage of rainwater harvesting technology at household level, lack of internal training on WRM technologies and inadequate support of water initiatives by the households. Conversely, the opportunities established include; location, support from the Central Government through the District Local Government and involvement of different stakeholders in water management. The study concludes that water shortage appears as a powerful incentive to change, eliciting major adaptations and coping strategies from users. This study recommends focus on building more water infrastructure and involvement of the households in the planning and allocation of water resources. This will contribute to improved understanding of the need for efficient water resources utilization and management on household livelihoods and also help design appropriate WRM strategies for the poor peasant farmers and provide guidance for policy makers for similar situations in Uganda and beyond.