Water User Associations to ensure proper maintenance of water sources

WUA © Protos

UGANDA - Proper maintenance of water sources has been a major challenge in promoting sustainable access to safe clean water in communities of Mahyoro, Kanara and Nyabani sub counties in Kamwenge district. Water sources, constructed by different WASH development partners, used to stay for a few years not operational due to mal-functionality of water user committees. These fail to take up their roles and responsibilities to ensure proper operation and maintenance of water points for sustainable water supply.

In trying to overcome the above challenges, since 2010, Jese in partnership with Protos, facilitated the process of mobilizing, sensitizing and organizing water user committees in the sub counties to form water user associations (WUAs). The association is an umbrella body overseeing the operations of all water user committees, O&M of all the water sources in the sub counties of operation. Every WUA is managed by an executive of 9 members elected during the general assembly. Each Parish has a representative and the sub county has a representative as an advisor. Jese with support from Protos has been supporting the WUAs technically and financially to enable them fulfill their roles and responsibilities.

Through WUA the water users of different water points in the sub county are able to pool their resources together for effective running of WUA activities to ensure proper O&M of water sources. WUA are legally registered and recognized at Sub County and District levels. They hold monthly, quarterly and annual general meetings to discuss key issues of sustaining the association, amend constitutions and re-elect leaders.

Twesigye Alex, MWUA pump mechanic: “Before inception of WUA, WUCs faced frequent challenges of water sources breakdown. It used to take so long to rectify mechanical faults and some would rather abandon water points after breakdown. Water user committees too had lost morale and given up on their roles and so water users could not pay water user fees. After instalment of WUA simple and major repairs were made for several shallow wells as mechanical faults were fixed by WUA mechanic by purchasing and fixing wheel rod, replacement of pipes, repairing the apron etc. Through lobbying effort of Mahyoro WUA officials to the district a new pump system has been installed in the case of Kyadogo. People using these water points are now happy of WUA activities and are using safe clean water.”

Fungamukapa Medrage, chairperson WUA Mahyoro: “Support from Jese and Protos as trainings have enhanced our performance in areas of documentation, lobbying and advocacy (accountability and reporting) and the knowledge acquired has been used to develop working documents such as byelaws on operation of water sources, household data tools and support in capacity building of water users, acquisition of office space at Sub County respectively.”