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   1.   Commencement.

   2.   Interpretation.

   3.   Application of the Act.

   4.   Objectives.



Rights in water.

   5.   Rights in water vested in the Government.

   6.   Interests to be in accordance with the Act.

   7.   General rights to use water.

   8.   Limitation on use of water.

Water Policy Committee.

   9.   Water Policy Committee.

   10.   Functions of the Water Policy Committee.

   11.   Delegation of powers and functions.


Inventory of water resources.

   12.   Water resources investigation.

   13.   Minister's power to require records, etc.

   14.   Power to enter land and investigate water resources.

   15.   Obligations on entry on land.

National water action plan.

   16.   National water action plan.

   17.   Action plan to be adhered to.


   18.   Construction of works.

   19.   Exemption of works.

   20.   Standard conditions.

   21.   Inspection of works.


   22.   Suspension or variation of a water permit.

   23.   Quantification for a water permit.

   24.   Duration of a water permit.

   25.   Cancellation of a permit.

   26.   Cancellation or variation of a permit for a public purpose.

   27.   Variation of a water permit upon application of the holder.


   28.   Declaration of prohibited waste by the Minister.

   29.   Application for a waste discharge permit.

   30.   Reference of permits to other authorities.

   31.   Prohibition of pollution.


   32.   Charges and fees.

   33.   Damage caused by the Minister etc. to be compensated.

   34.   Register of permits.

   35.   Prescribed guidelines.

   36.   Easements.

   37.   Inspection of land in relation to water use.

   38.   General appeals.

   39.   Offences.

   40.   Penalties.

   41.   Protection from liabilities.

   42.   Transitional period and existing works and permits.

   43.   Decision to be in regard to objectives.

   44.   Director's power to give direction.



   45.   Declaration of water and sewerage areas.

   46.   Appointment of water or sewerage authorities.

   47.   Functions of water and sewerage authorities.

   48.   Performance contracts.

   49.   Service discretionary.

Water user groups and associations.

   50.   Water user groups and water and sanitation committee.

   51.   Water user association.

   52.   Associations and committees to work under director.


Supply for private and public purposes.

   53.   Construction of water works.

   54.   Recovery of capital costs.

   55.   Declaration of completed water supplies.

   56.   Requiring owner to connect to works.

   57.   Authority to supply water by measure or otherwise.

   58.   Metering.

   59.   Testing meters.

   60.   Authority to erect hydrants and standpipes.

Water restrictions.

   61.   Water restrictions.


   62.   Construction of sewerage works.

   63.   Declaration of completed sewerage works.

   64.   Connections and work requirements within a sewerage area.

   65.   Application for the construction of a private sewer.

   66.   Incorporation with public sewerage system.

   67.   Proper construction and operation.


   68.   Declaration of prohibited waste by an authority.

   69.   Trade waste agreements.


   70.   Codes of workmanship.

   71.   Power to conduct training courses for plumbers and drainers.


   72.   Execution of works on request.

   73.   Notice to repair.

   74.   Notice of contravention.

   75.   Power to enter land for reading meter, etc.

   76.   Powers to undertake works.

   77.   Land and works to vest in authority.

   78.   Abandonment of works.

   79.   Power to stop traffic.

   80.   Works on roads.

   81.   Protected zones.

   82.   Restriction or discontinuation of water supply.

   83.   Power to enter land and take action.

   84.   Power to acquire land.

   85.   Power to deal with land.

   86.   Notice of intention to affect works.


   87.   Application of sections 88, 89 and 90.

   88.   Authority's contracts.

   89.   Authority's commercial ventures.

   90.   Industrial property.

   91.   Compensation to be paid.

   92.   Cost of relocation or reconstruction.

   93.   Compensation to the authority.

   94.   Rates, charges and fees.

   95.   Recovery of outstanding rates, etc.


   96.   Supply outside water supply areas.

   97.   Supply by certain persons prohibited.

   98.   Unlawful taking of water.

   99.   Interference with works.

   100.   Tampering with works.

   101.   Structures not to be put on land, etc.

   102.   Trees, crops and shrubs.


   103.   Obstruction of an officer.

   104.   Offences and penalties.

   105.   Inspection of authorities.

   106.   Protection of authorities and officers.

   107.   Regulations.


Commencement: 7 April, 1997 (except for division 5 of Part II).

   An Act to provide for the use, protection and management of water resources and supply; to provide for the constitution of water and sewerage authorities; and to facilitate the devolution of water supply and sewerage undertakings.


1.   Commencement.

   This Act shall come into force on a date that the Minister may, by statutory instrument, appoint; except that—

   (a)   different sections may come into force at different times; and

   (b)   no date shall be appointed to bring into force division 5 of Part II unless the delegation referred to under section 3(2) has been effected.

2.   Interpretation.

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   (a)   "action plan" means the national water action plan prepared under section 16;

   (b)   "aquifer" includes a geological structure or formation and an artificial landfill permeated or capable of being permeated permanently or intermittently with water;

   (c)   "area" includes a water supply area and sewerage area or either of them, as the case may be;

   (d)   "authorised person" means a person acting on behalf of the Minister or the director to whom powers have been delegated under section 11 and includes an officer, servant or agent of an authority or any person acting on behalf of the authority;

   (e)   "authority" includes a water authority or sewerage authority or either of them, as the case may be;

   (f)   "borehole" includes a borehole, well, excavation or other opening in the ground or any natural or artificially constructed or improved underground cavity which is used or extends to an aquifer—

      (i)   for intercepting, collecting, obtaining or using ground water; or

      (ii)   for disposing of any water or waste below the surface of the ground;

   (g)   "building sewer" in relation to land means any pipe conduit, underground gutter or channel provided on that land to convey sewage or trade waste, but does not include a sewer connection;

   (h)   "connected fittings" includes any water closet, urinal, sink, lavatory, bath cistern or other sanitary fittings;

   (i)   "construct" includes alter, improve, maintain and repair;

   (j)   "director" means the director of water development;

   (k)   "domestic sewage" includes faecal matter, urine, household slops and other liquid house refuse;

   (l)   "domestic use" includes use for the purpose of—

      (i)   human consumption, washing and cooking by persons ordinarily resident on the land where the use occurs;

      (ii)   watering not more than 30 livestock units;

      (iii)   irrigating a subsistence garden; and

      (iv)   watering a subsistence fish pond;

   (m)   "easement" means a right to enter on land owned or occupied by another person for all or any of the following purposes—

      (i)   to construct works on or in that land;

      (ii)   to store water on or in that land; or

      (iii)   to carry water, drainage or waste under, through or over that land;

   (n)   "environment" means all aspects of the surroundings of humans, including the physical, biological, economic, cultural and social aspects;

   (o)   "ground water" means all water occurring or obtained from below the surface of the ground other than water contained in works, not being a borehole, for the distribution, reticulation, transportation, storage or treatment of water or waste and includes water occurring in or obtained from any borehole or aquifer;

   (p)   "hydrological station" includes a gauging, recording or monitoring station or an investigation or monitoring borehole or ancillary works constructed or installed on land;

   (q)   "land" includes premises;

   (r)   "livestock unit" means a mature animal with a live weight of 500 kilograms and for the purposes of this definition—

      (i)   one head of cattle shall be deemed to be 0.7;

      (ii)   one horse shall be deemed to be 0.6;

      (iii)   one donkey shall be deemed to be 0.4;

      (iv)   one goat shall be deemed to be 0.15;

      (v)   one sheep shall be deemed to be 0.15,

of a livestock unit;

   (s)   "main" means a main pipe forming part of the water supply system owned, operated or constructed by a water authority and includes any valves, meters, hydrants, access shafts, chambers and other fittings as may be necessary for proper functioning of the main pipe;

   (t)   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for water or natural resources;

   (u)   "occupier" means any person in occupation of the land or any part of the land or premises;

   (v)   "owner" includes—

      (i)   the person for the time being receiving the rent of the land in connection with which the word is used, whether on his or her own account or as agent or trustee for any other person; or

      (ii)   the person who would receive the rent if the land were let to a tenant;

   (w)   "performance contract" means a contract made under section 48;

   (x)   "person" includes any corporation, authorised officer, public authority, other legal entity or water users group constituted for the purpose of acting as an authority under this Act;

   (y)   "pollute" means directly or indirectly to alter the physical, thermal, chemical, biological or radioactive properties of any water so as to render the water less fit for any beneficial purpose for which it is, or may reasonably be, used or to cause a condition which is hazardous or potentially hazardous to public health, safety or welfare, or to animals, birds, fish or aquatic life or other organisms or to plants; and "pollution" has a corresponding meaning;

   (z)   "premises" includes any building or structure whether of a temporary or permanent nature and any vehicle or vessel;

   (aa)   "private sewer" includes a privately constructed pipe, conduit, underground gutter or channel, other than a building sewer, which may be connected to a private sewerage installation—

      (i)   for the conveyance of sewage or trade waste; or

      (ii)   for other private purposes and not being part of a public sewerage system vested in or constructed by a sewerage authority;

   (bb)   "private sewerage installation" includes a privately constructed latrine, septic tank or other sewerage system and all fittings connected to any of them but does not include a building sewer;

   (cc)   "private water pipe" means any pipe provided by the owner or occupier of land for the receipt of a water supply but does not include a water connection or main;

   (dd)   "public authority" includes Government Minister, government department, statutory authority or any local government body, including any body provided for in the Local Governments Act;

   (ee)   "sewer connection" means a connection provided by the sewerage authority or at the authority's directions for the conveyance of sewage or trade waste between a building sewer and a sewer at or near the boundary of that land;

   (ff)   "sewerage area" means an area declared as such under section 45;

   (gg)   "sewerage authority" means a sewerage authority appointed under section 46;

   (hh)   "subsistence fish pond" means a fish pond appurtenant to, or used in connection with, a dwelling or group of dwellings for subsistence of its residents, the produce of which is predominantly consumed by the residents and is not sold or bartered;

   (ii)   "subsistence garden" means a garden, not exceeding 0.5 hectare in area, appurtenant to, or used in connection with, a dwelling or group of dwellings for the subsistence of its residents, the produce of which is predominantly consumed by the residents and is not sold or bartered;

   (jj)   "trade waste" means waste declared to be waste under section 68;

   (kk)   "trade waste agreement" means an agreement made under section 69 and includes a trade waste consent;

   (ll)   "use", in relation to water, includes to withdraw, pump, extract, take, use or reuse or to divert for the purpose of using or reusing, that water;

   (mm)   "waste" includes sewage and any other matter or thing, whether wholly or partly in solid, liquid or gaseous state, which if added to any water may cause pollution;

   (nn)   "waste discharge permit" means a permit granted under section 29;

   (oo)   "water" includes—

      (i)   water flowing or situated upon the surface of any land;

      (ii)   water flowing or contained in—

         (A)   any river, stream, watercourse or other natural course for water;

         (B)   any lake, pan, swamp, marsh or spring, whether or not it has been altered or artificially improved;

      (iii)   ground water;

      (iv)   such other water as the Minister may from time to time declare to be water;

   (pp)   "water authority" means a water authority appointed under section 46;

   (qq)   "water connection" means a connection provided by a water authority, or at its direction, for the conveyance of a water supply between a main and any private water pipe constructed on land, at or near the boundary of that land;

   (rr)   "water permit" means a permit issued under division 3;

   (ss)   "Water Policy Committee" means the committee established under section 9;

   (tt)   "water supply area" means an area declared as such under section 45;

   (uu)   "works" includes any works whatever which are related to or may affect the investigation, use, control, management or administration of any water or waste and any works, excavations or boreholes—

      (i)   where water or waste may be used, extracted, collected, diverted, stored, conducted, regulated, controlled, supplied, discharged, treated or measured;

      (ii)   where land may be drained;

      (iii)   where flooding or erosion of land or siltation of water may be mitigated or prevented;

      (iv)   partly or wholly situated within or on—

         (A)   the bed or banks of any watercourse; or

         (B)   any other source of water, by which any structure may be constructed or protected.

   (2) In this Act, unless the contrary intention appears, a reference to the Act includes regulations made under the Act.

   (3) In interpreting this Act, an interpretation which promotes the purposes of the Act must be preferred to one which does not.

3.   Application of the Act.

   (1) The Minister may, from time to time, by notice in the Gazette declare part of this Act not to apply to an area defined in the notice for a purpose defined in the water action plan.

   (2) Division 5 of Part II of this Act shall not be applied until the National Environment Management Authority, acting under section 6(2) of the National Environment Act, has delegated to the relevant authorities referred to in that division and on terms acceptable by the Minister, its functions—

   (a)   under sections 26 and 34(2) of that Act; and

   (b)   in relation to water, of granting pollution licences under Part VIII of that Act.

   (3) After the delegation has been made as provided under subsection (2) and division 5 has come into effect, if there is any conflict between this Act and section 26, section 34(2) or Part VIII of the National Environment Act, this Act shall prevail.

4.   Objectives.

   The objectives of the Act are—

   (a)   to promote the rational management and use of the waters of Uganda through—

      (i)   the progressive introduction and application of appropriate standards and techniques for the investigation, use, control, protection, management and administration of water resources;

      (ii)   the coordination of all public and private activities which may influence the quality, quantity, distribution, use or management of water resources;

      (iii)   the coordination, allocation and delegation of responsibilities among Ministers and public authorities for the investigation, use, control, protection, management or administration of water resources;

   (b)   to promote the provision of a clean, safe and sufficient supply of water for domestic purposes to all persons;

   (c)   to allow for the orderly development and use of water resources for purposes other than domestic use, such as the watering of stock, irrigation and agriculture, industrial, commercial and mining uses, the generation of hydroelectric or geothermal energy, navigation, fishing, preservation of flora and fauna and recreation in ways which minimise harmful effects to the environment;

   (d)   to control pollution and to promote the safe storage, treatment, discharge and disposal of waste which may pollute water or otherwise harm the environment and human health.



Rights in water.

5.   Rights in water vested in the Government.

   All rights to investigate, control, protect and manage water in Uganda for any use is vested in the Government and shall be exercised by the Minister and the director in accordance with this Part of the Act.

6.   Interests to be in accordance with the Act.

   (1) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, no person shall acquire or have a right to—

   (a)   use water;

   (b)   construct or operate any works; or

   (c)   cause or allow any waste to come into contact, whether directly or indirectly, with any water,

other than under the provisions of this Part of the Act.

   (2) At the commencement of this Act—

   (a)   no person shall sink any well or use any water pursuant to section 31 of the Mining Act without a permit to undertake works or a water permit as may be required by the Minister or Regulations made under this Act;

   (b)   no consent for alluvial or river locations under section 41 of the Mining Act shall be given without the prior written approval of the Minister, and any consent given shall be subject to conditions that the Minister may require;

   (c)   reference to the Minister under section 56 of the Mining Act shall be deemed to be a reference to the Minister under this Part of the Act;

   (d)   the provisions of section 40 dealing with works and uses existing before the commencement of this Act shall apply to existing permits and rights to use water granted under Part IV of the Mining Act exercised by the Minister and the director in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

7.   General rights to use water.

   (1) Subject to section 8, a person may—

   (a)   while temporarily at any place; or

   (b)   being the occupier of or a resident on any land,

where there is a natural source of water, use that water for domestic use, fighting fire or irrigating a subsistence garden.

   (2) In addition to the right to water under subsection (1), the occupier of land or resident on land may, with the approval of the authority responsible for the area, use any water under the land occupied by him or her or on which he or she is resident on or any land adjacent to that land.

   (3) The rights under subsections (1) and (2) do not per se authorise a person to construct any works.

8.   Limitation on use of water.

   (1) The Minister may, in relation to any water source, where the situation so requires, by notice published in a manner appropriate for the area as the Minister may see fit—

   (a)   prescribe places from which water may be extracted for use;

   (b)   prescribe the time and manner in which water may be used;

   (c)   at times of shortage or anticipated shortage—

      (i)   regulate water to be used for particular purposes;

      (ii)   regulate, restrict or prohibit the application of a water permit, waste discharge permit or other permit or licence issued under this Part of the Act;

      (iii)   on the advice of the Water Policy Committee, declare any part of Uganda to be a controlled area and establish a comprehensive and integrated plan for managing land, water and other natural resources within that area;

   (d)   temporarily or permanently prohibit the use of water from a given source on health grounds;

   (e)   require any person to take measures, as may be specified in the notice, to avoid, reduce or repair damage to a source of water or neighbouring land from the watering of stock.

   (2) No person shall extract water unless authorised under this Part of the Act.

   (3) Water shall be deemed to have been extracted if there exists on the land in question any pipe, channel, tank or other means of extracting water.

Water Policy Committee.

9.   Water Policy Committee.

   (1) There shall be a Water Policy Committee consisting of—

   (a)   the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for water resources;

   (b)   the executive director, National Environment Management Authority;

   (c)   the director responsible for irrigation;

   (d)   the director responsible for animal industry and fisheries;

   (e)   the commissioner responsible for industry;

   (f)   the commissioner responsible for hydropower;

   (g)   one district council chairperson;

   (h)   one chief administrative officer;

   (i)   the managing director, National Water and Sewerage Corporation;

   (j)   two persons having special qualifications or experience relevant to the functions of the Water Policy Committee; and

   (k)   the director of water development.

   (2) The Minister shall appoint the members specified under subsection (1)(g), (h) and (j) who shall hold office for a period of three years.

   (3) The officers who are members of the Water Policy Committee by virtue of their offices shall not delegate their powers under the committee.

   (4) The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry responsible for natural resources shall be the chairperson of the Water Policy Committee.

   (5) The director shall be the secretary of the Water Policy Committee.

   (6) The Minister shall appoint a deputy chairperson of the Water Policy Committee from among the members of the committee.

   (7) The Water Policy Committee may co-opt any person to the committee as it may require for the proper discharge of its functions.

   (8) The directorate of water development of the Ministry responsible for natural resources shall be the secretariat of the Water Policy Committee.

10.   Functions of the Water Policy Committee.

   The functions of the Water Policy Committee shall be—

   (a)   to assist the Minister in the coordination of hydrological and hydrogeological investigations;

   (b)   to coordinate the preparation, implementation and amendment of the water action plan and to recommend the water action plan to the Minister;

   (c)   at the request of the Minister, to advise any other Minister who may request advice on—

      (i)   issues of policy relevant to the investigation, use, control, protection, management or administration of water;

      (ii)   any other issue that may be referred to it;

   (d)   whether on request or otherwise, to review the law relating to water and advise the Minister on any amendments that may be required for the improvement or better administration of that law;

   (e)   to advise the responsible Minister, as the case may require, on any dispute between agencies involved in water management that may be referred to it; and

   (f)   to undertake any other functions conferred upon it under this Act or referred to it from time to time.

11.   Delegation of powers and functions.

   (1) The Minister may, in writing, delegate all or any of his or her powers or functions under this Part of the Act other than—

   (a)   the powers conferred by this section;

   (b)   the power to make regulations;

   (c)   the power to fix charges or fees; and

   (d)   the power to determine appeals.

   (2) Delegation under subsection (1) may be in relation to a matter or class of matters or to a part of Uganda.

   (3) The Minister may in writing, revoke a delegation under subsection (1), and the fact that the Minister has delegated a power or function shall not prevent him or her from exercising that power or function.

   (4) Powers and functions delegated under subsection (1) shall be exercised or performed in accordance with the conditions set out in the instrument of delegation.

   (5) A delegate under this section shall have all necessary power to exercise the powers or functions delegated notwithstanding that the delegate would not be legally empowered were it not for this section.

   (6) A delegate exercising the powers and functions delegated under this section may receive written or oral submissions from any pers

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