Dr Andrew Seguya officially commissioned water harvesting tanks built in Kisoro District of Uganda with support from Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration. UWA staffs, GVTC managers, local administration and community members are among attendees of this ceremony, held on 22nd October 2011.
The communities were excited for the provision of the much needed tanks. They noted that their population still remains huge and more support in provision of water would go a long way in alleviating the challenges of looking for water and lead to improved livelihoods as time used to look for water will now be used to undertake other activities that would otherwise not be possible.
Uganda Wildlife Authority thanked GVTC for the support that contributes to the conservation of Mgahinga Gorilla National Park as fewer people will now need to enter the park in search for water during the dry season and therefore there will be reduced conflict between UWA and the communities as well as reduce impact on the ecosystem.
The Chairman urged the communities to manage the tanks well and avoid damaging them or letting them be run down because they are their property and the better they keep them, the longer they will serve them. He also pledged the district’s support in providing other services like schools, clinics and improving the roads. He appreciated GVTC support and urged more collaboration and working together for the development of the region.
WHY MORE TANKS ARE NEEDED?
A community profile was undertaken in the parishes neighbouring the parks of Mgahinga Gorilla and Bwindi Impenetrable NPs. It was observed that water was the largest challenges for the communities. The parks provided a source of water and by the communities going into the parks, those with illegal intentions used the cover of collecting water to undertake illegal activities leading to conflicts with the park staff as well as degradation of the park through illegal hunting and other resource use. Building of the tanks addresses several issues at the same time. It provides people with easily assessable water, reduces conflicts between the park and the communities and ensures conservation of the park. The GVTC executive Secretary, Sam Mwandha assured more community water harvesting tanks in the region to overcome the water challenge and reduce impact on the ecosystem.