Uganda: Public Private Dialogue on Improving Industrial Wastewater Management in Kampala

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Pollution Control Task Force (PTF) members: the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) as the main representative of the private sector in Uganda, and Uganda Cleaner  Production Centre (UCPC)


In Kampala, unregulated industrial wastewater is largely disposed of through storm water channels and wetlands which discharge directly into the Inner Murchison Bay of Lake Victoria, the main source of freshwater for the city. This causes significant public health risks and environmental damage. Furthermore, the cost of water treatment is constantly increasing. Many industries ignore wastewater regulations, which are poorly enforced by the relevant authorities. The relationship between authorities and the private sector is sometimes characterised by mistrust. In addition, many private companies are unaware of the availability of affordable state-of- the-art treatment systems. Overall, there is a fear that stricter standards and enforcement could impair industrial development.

Previous efforts to address the challenges of wastewater discharge, regulation and compliance in Kampala showed that:

  • The majority of water users do not respect the law
  • Law enforcement by regulators is weak
  • Awareness about wastewater management options and benefits is low
  • Cooperation with potential polluters has not been developed
  • The sewerage system is in a poor state
  • The impact of untreated wastewater on public health and the environment is unknown due to a lack of data

The Public Private Kampala Wastewater Dialogue (KWWD) is an annual platform for effective communication and knowledge exchange. It brings together representatives from Kampala´s industries to the PTF: the MWE, the KCCA, the NWSC, the NEMA, the UMA as the main representative of the private sector in Uganda, and the UCPC which provides technical support for cleaner production.



Approach and Objectives

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH supported the establishment of the Pollution Control Task Force (PTF) in Kampala in 2012, which brings together the competencies of various public agencies dealing with industrial wastewater regulation in the capital.  The PTF established the KWWD to create a cooperative environment for stakeholders and to build trust between authorities and the private sector.

The main objectives of the KWWD are to:

  • Reduce health risks for the population of Kampala which are caused by unregulated wastewater discharge
  • Decrease water pollution in the main drinking water reservoir of Kampala
  • Establish an enabling environment for industries to incentivise compliance with wastewater regulations
  • Support industries in cleaner production processes which can optimise resource use and recovery and which can minimise waste production
  • Trigger and strengthen public-private partnership and investment options for cleaner industrial production solutions.

The activities of the KWWD include:

  • Fostering dialogue between the private and the public sectors
  • Informing corporate managers in their decision-making
  • Developing the capacities of technical staff through free practical training in cleaner production practices
  • Enhancing public awareness regarding wastewater
  • Promoting cleaner production solutions and innovations
  • Sharing local success stories of cleaner production practices
  • Producing guidebooks on wastewater regulation and management for specific industries
  • Identifying and piloting industry-specific wastewater solutions.

The KWWD started in October 2013 and three dialogues have been held with over 70 industries since then. At the most recent dialogue held in November 2015, a new campaign called the Green Industry-Healthy Environment Campaign was launched by the PTF. This one-year initiative provides further technical support and compliance monitoring and evaluation for the performance of local industries against set standards. The winners will be recognised as Cleaner Production Champions for Kampala.

In addition, three wastewater guide books have been introduced for the paint, soft drink and battery recycling industries, with more guides to be published during 2016. Since the inception of the KWWD, a growing number of stakeholders have been reached through these dialogues. This has increased transparency and awareness regarding regulatory mandates and the legal framework. Furthermore, it has fostered knowledge exchange and peer learning, and has empowered industries to improve their wastewater management practices and compliance with permit regulations.


Challenges and Outlook

For some industries, it can be difficult to speak openly about wastewater issues. Creating trust between the public and the private sector takes time and requires collective action. The overall enforcement of water regulations is still low, which reduces the incentives for industries to participate in collective action. This, in turn, reduces the willingness of industries to contribute financially to wastewater management. Within this partnership, however, cooperation between the private sector and public authorities is improving significantly. The project team will focus its efforts on further motivating and incentivising industries and creating a sense of ownership amongst corporate participants. As seen elsewhere, the highly complex nature of such forums requires continued support from all partners.

Country Set-up

In Uganda, the International Water Stewardship Programme (IWaSP) is anchored in the bilateral and GIZ-implemented Reform of the Urban Water and Sanitation Sector (RUWASS) Programme, a joint programme of the German and Ugandan governments. RUWASS aims to strengthen institutional, regulatory and managerial capacities for more equitable access to urban water and sanitation.
IWaSP partners in this country include the MWE, the KCCA and the NWSC.

IWaSP is an international water security programme which combines global best practices in water stewardship with local know-how. Currently active in seven countries, the six-year programme (2013-2018) facilitates partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and civil society to address shared water risks, while improving stakeholders’ use and management of water and building their capacity to develop their own solutions. GIZ manages IWaSP on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the UK Department for International Development (DfID).


Contact Information

Johannes Rumohr
IWaSP Country Coordinator in Uganda