By The Insight Post Uganda
Tororo Municipality Member of Parliament, Apollo Ofwono Yeri, has been granted leave to introduce a Private Member’s Bill titled “The Rainwater (Harvesting and Storage) Bill.”
This legislation, tabled during a recent plenary sitting, aims to address the crucial issue of rainwater management and conservation in Uganda.
The Rainwater Bill, if passed, will require the mandatory harvesting and storage of rainwater, laying the foundation for a system that preserves, creates, maintains, and manages rainwater harvesting facilities across the nation.
Yeri, in presenting the motion to introduce the bill, emphasised the pressing need to establish effective mechanisms for combating both drought and flooding, particularly by capitalizing on the abundance of rainfall during specific seasons.
“During the rainy season, rainwater often leads to flooding, especially in urban areas where drainage systems are not adequately maintained,” noted Yeri.
He stressed that the active collection and storage of rainwater can help address these challenges while also boosting water availability.
The impact of climate change, Yeri pointed out, necessitates proactive measures, as it is anticipated that weather-related issues will become more severe, threatening Uganda’s growing population, economy, and urbanization.
The bill introduces a notable provision in the form of a building committee. This committee’s primary responsibility is to ensure that all developers incorporate rainwater harvesting and storage systems into their projects.
According to Yeri, the significance of efficiently using a scarce resource: “Water is a precious commodity, for instance, even after a rain shower, some families still rely on well water. This is a wasted opportunity.”
Juliet Agasha, the Mitooma District Woman MP, seconded the motion, highlighting the gender and rural development aspects of rainwater harvesting. She stressed that this initiative would safeguard the rights and well-being of women and young girls by reducing their exposure to sexual harassment when they have to undertake long journeys to collect water.
Agasha also pointed out the synergies between the Rainwater Bill and the President’s agenda regarding solar-powered irrigation pumps. Harvesting rainwater effectively can ease the irrigation process, offering substantial benefits to rural communities.
Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa referred the Bill to the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, suggesting that it should collaborate with the Committee on Physical Infrastructure. He indicated that some of Yeri’s proposals could potentially be integrated into the existing Building Control Act.
Tayebwa further stressed the importance of examining whether the proposed measures could be incorporated into existing laws, reinforcing them without necessitating the creation of entirely new legislation.
In this pivotal development, Uganda is taking strides to address issues of water management, climate adaptation, and infrastructure enhancement, potentially leading to more sustainable water practices and safeguarding the rights of its citizens.