Wetlands as superheroes

(c) Join For Water

Protecting urban wetlands in Uganda for sustainable access to water and resilient communities

Uganda – We are excited to announce that Join For Water just  launched a new project in Uganda funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The project runs from November 2023 until December 2026.

Fort Portal City

The wetlands around Fort Portal City are a vital part of the Mpanga River catchment. These wetlands are actual superheroes, because they regulate water provision and water quality across the catchment, and act like sponges by absorbing flood waters and releasing it slowly afterwards.

However, human settlement expansion, urbanization, industrial growth, and land conversion for mining and agriculture have degraded these invaluable ecosystems. Over the past two decades, approximately 60% of the city’s permanent wetland cover has vanished!

In response to this situation, the Hilton Foundation is supporting  a collaborative project led by Join For Water alongside our partners  Natural Resources Defense Initiatives (NRDI) and Kyaninga Forest Foundation (KFF), in conjunction with the Ministry of Water and Environment (Albert Water Management Zone; AWMZ), and Fort Portal  City Natural Resources Department, around a joint objective: safeguarding, managing, and restoring Fort Portal’s wetlands. This ambitious goal aims not only to secure long-term access to water resources but also to bolster community resilience against the impacts of climate change while advocating for ecosystem conservation.

Key actions

  1. Inventory and Action Plan Development: Undertaking an inventory of Fort Portal’s wetlands, involving multi-stakeholder consultations, digital mapping, and the formulation of a wetland management and restoration action plan.
  2. Wetland Restoration and Access to water: Initiating pilot interventions in priority sites coupled with community-awareness activities to restore and protect wetlands, and enhance access to water and other related ecosystem services.
  3. Integration of wetland management into the city’s Development Plan: This ensures sustained alignment with the city’s sustainable development aspirations and promote climate mitigation and adaptation actions within the region.

Envisioning Success

In the short term, this project aims to establish robust wetland protection policies, and improve drinking water access. Long-term success manifests in restored wetland functions around Fort Portal, increased resilience against water-related climate impacts, improved water resource sustainability, and broader advocacy for wetland conservation.

Reviving and safeguarding Fort Portal’s vanishing wetlands isn’t just about preserving ecological habitats—it’s a step towards securing clean water sources, enhancing community resilience, and charting a sustainable path towards a greener, climate-resilient future.


With financial support from: