The Northern Uganda Water Supply Services Project (NUWATER (formally NUWSS) was a three-year initiative funded by USAID/Uganda. The NUWATER contract was signed on June 10, 2008, more than a year after the original feasibility study that provided the foundation for project design, for a period of 36 months and a total life-of-project funding of just under $3 million. The objective of the project was to assist the local authorities with reestablishing their water supply services with initial focus on the northern Uganda towns of Kitgum and Pader.
The project was designed to assist local authorities in the selected towns in reestablishing their water supply services through the use of incentive-based contracts with private service providers for operation and maintenance of water systems. The project coordinated with the Ministry of Water and Environment and its lead agency in the water and sanitation sector, the Directorate of Water Development (DWD) while working directly and closely with local government units in Northern Uganda to deliver services. NUWATER was implemented by Tetra Tech ARD, Inc. with subcontractors including the External Services Unit of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) of Uganda.
The NUWATER project was designed to assist Uganda to move to a new generation of management contracts, by testing the value of incorporating additional financial incentives to the standard form of management contract to improve service delivery. While NWSC had been highly successful in using incentive-based contracts to engender impressive water service performance improvements in larger towns across Uganda over the past decade leading up to the project, NUWATER is the first project to adapt and apply this approach to smaller towns in a post-conflict northern region of the country.
The tasks defined in the NUWATER Scope of Work were:
Task 1: Design, award and management of operating contracts, focusing on providing technical assistance to local governments for the design, tendering, negotiation and monitoring of incentive based management contracts with local private operators for the operation, management and extension of local water utilities services and systems.
Task 2: Capital investment works, undertaking capital improvements to ensure that water supply systems are viable financial entities with the requisite water production capacity and customer base to recover operational costs.
Task 3: Planning and reporting, aimed at providing effective communications to USAID and project partners.
As stated by USAID in the NUWATER Scope of Work, by implementing and refining this private sector approach, USAID anticipates that that at the end of the three years: