Uganda – Where human activities take place, nature gets polluted. Unfortunately, that seems to be a given. The Mpanga River is also a victim of this.
Water is life and essential for all forms of growth and development. Water also plays a very vital role in sustaining human economic activities. Unfortunately, most of the human practices such as low and high scale agriculture, industrialization and un planned urban development and related activities to enhance human life have impacted negatively on water bodies. The key to the survival of all living organisms including human beings has been the provision of water in the desired quantity and quality, at the right time and place. No other natural resource aside water has had such an overwhelming influence on human history.
The water quality deterioration of river Mpanga in the western parts of Uganda, Kabarole through Fort portal -Kamwenge to Kitagwenda Districts is as a result of degradation mainly been attributed to the rapid population growth in the river catchment, discharge of effluent from the surrounding agro processing industries, hydro power generation facilities, commercial water extraction for domestic and farm production, institutions like Mpanga market, other human activities such as farming, motor vehicle washing bays and increased development growth with related civil works that entirely relay on drawing sand, aggregates and water used for the constructions from the only available river and its tributaries. With the unacceptable levels of pollutants from these human activities, important aspects of the river are severely getting ruined. Physical quality aspects of the river such as the water color from the usual colorless to the current brownish state due to floating debris, turbidity, suspended solids, degraded river banks, and changing river patterns are evidenced in some hotspots along the river.
Integrated management and protection
NRDI a local NGO based in Fort portal Tourism City is Partnering with JFW to employ Integrated water resources management with nature-based innovations to reverse the situation of the degraded river catchment. In the Upstream (Karangura Sub-county), there is immense awareness raising on the protection and conservation of the River source and its tributaries, promotion of better farming practices; agroforestry with indigenous tree species at household farms and setting up community learning demonstration woodlots at several institutions, promotion of ecological livelihoods such as Apiary in the riparian zone of the river, ecological sanitation at both households and institutions and stabilization of the river banks by planting indigenous trees, bamboo and other suitable vegetation cover within the 100m buffer zone (Upstream and in the City center). These natural resource management initiatives are hoped to change the status of River Mpanga for the generation that will come to harness sufficient ecosystem services.