Uganda is a young, fast-growing, and rapidly urbanizing country: 45 percent of the population is under 15, the urbanization rate is 5.6 percent per annum, and gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in 2021 was $884. The country’s Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.525, ranking 166th among 191 countries.
The 1995 Constitution defines clean and safe water as a fundamental right for all Ugandans and divides responsibilities for water service provision between the national government and the 146 district local governments.
According to the World Health Organization/United Nations Children’s Fund’s Joint Monitoring Program, Uganda’s water services have improved substantially over the past 20 years: in 2020, 83 percent of Ugandan households accessed piped water or improved groundwater, compared to 61 percent in 2000. However, according to Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment, household water access has remained between 65–69 percent since 2010.
Domestic/municipal and agricultural uses exert the most demand on Uganda’s abundant surface water while drinking water utilizes groundwater primarily. Annual surface water and groundwater abstraction rates will likely remain well below levels that would threaten sustainable utilization thresholds. However, climate change, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and the fast-growing urban population could exacerbate water resource and water infrastructure management challenges.
This product was developed by USAID’s Rural Evidence and Learning For Water (REAL-WATER) Activity.