WELSH WATER, the only not-for-profit utility company in England and Wales, has commenced a three-year partnership working with the Eastern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation and WaterAid Uganda based in Mbale, Uganda and WaterAid UK to help transform 3 priority water supply schemes that supply small towns in the region.
The partnership aims to increase inclusive, sustainable and universal access to Water and Sanitation Hygiene (WASH) in Buyende, Namutumba and Namayingo in Eastern Uganda. In time, these schemes will become models, providing learning and bench marking opportunities for best practices of water utility operations for the region.
The company has recently flown a small team to Uganda to meet with partners from the three Eastern Umbrella schemes as well as stakeholders from WaterAid Uganda and the Ministry of Water & Environment. The team has collected data from each scheme to track four broad areas for improvement: Asset Management, Supply Availability and Reliability, Equity and Social Inclusion and Customer Relations and Engagement. This work is supported in part from the UN Habitats organisation and the Global Water Operations Partnerships program.
The trip comes as Welsh Water has reached a key milestone as its customers and colleagues have raised £11 million for its chosen charity, WaterAid.
Since partnering on the water bill insert campaign in 1994, donations have topped £11,193,416 to the charity, meaning that over 700,000 people have been reached with essential access to clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene.
Steve Wilson, Managing Director of Wastewater, Business Customers and Energy and Chair of WaterAid in Wales said: “Here at Welsh Water, we are passionate about the importance of equal access to water which is why we are proud to commence this new three-year partnership. Even at this moment in time, Uganda has a mortality rate of 6.1 which is in part driven by 10 million people living without safe drinking water. When a community gets clean water for the first time, it’s the start of something truly life-changing.
“Clearly in the business we are in, we understand what that means and how hard it must be for those individuals without access. That is why we are so passionate about this partnership and playing our part to change lives. In addition, the phenomenal amount of money generously donated by our customers and colleagues shows a shared commitment to improving things for these people affected.”
Lillian Nabasirye, WASH Technical Director of WaterAid Uganda said: “This three-year partnership, including Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, the Eastern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation and WaterAid, is testament to the efforts to improve utility efficiency and enhance service delivery to customers. The trip cemented relationships within the Water Operators’ Partnership and has set up momentum to reach the marginalised communities with safe water.”