Nile Breweries, through its parent company AB Inbev has donated Shs2Bn ($600,000) to conserve River Rwizi located in Mbarara. This will support the 3rd phase of a series of projects the beer maker has been funding in the region since 2019 to help ensure that the quantity and quality of water in river Rwizi catchment adequately supports ecosystem functioning and socio-economic development by 2024.
“Water is the number one ingredient in beer. That is why we are improving water access and security in the communities where we live and work. Through innovative partnerships and initiatives such as this project,” said Onapito Ekomoloit, Legal& Corporate Affairs Director, NBL.
“Freshwater resources are being affected by the changing climate, pollution, and over utilisation. These threats call for innovated and coordinated responses if Uganda’s water resources are to continue providing widespread economic, ecological and social benefit,” he added.
The project aligns with NBL parent company AB InBev’s water stewardship goal that by 2025, 100%of its communities in high-stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality.
According to Dr Florence Adong, The Director of Water Resources Management (DWRW), Ministry of Water and Environment, R. Rwizi emerged as the most endangered river in Uganda from studies done to assess the degraded water sources in Uganda. She represented Hon Beatrice Anywar, the State Minister for environment at the event in Kakigani, Rwampara.
“We need a good strategy to maintain the flow, quantity and quality of our water resource. This requires a lot of cooperation, trust building and confidence, thus our mode is based on Catchment whereby we work with many stake holders including the community to restore the river,” she said
“Water and environment resources go hand in hand and contribute to the economic development of the country so let us all protect and prioritize them. On behalf of the ministry I would like to thank Nile Breweries and its parent company AB Inbev for playing their part and call on others in the private sector to do the same,” she added.
The project is being implemented through technical support from WWF UK and WWF Uganda country office partnership with the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM), Victoria Water Management Zone (VWMZ), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), River Rwizi Catchment Committee, District Local Governments and local communities.
“We want a world where people can co-exist with nature and water is one of the critical resources. Environment conservation is no longer charity it is business. When we build our resilience of water sources, we are building our economy and improving lives of our communities,” said David Duli, Country Director WWF Uganda, the key implementor of the project.
“The Rwizi Catchment project aims at developing collective stakeholder driven approaches and implementing site catchment-based interventions to address water risks to enable improved community livelihoods and water quality and quantity,” he added.
River Rwizi and its catchment covers an estimated area of 8,200 square kilometres spanning 12 district local governments in Western Uganda. The river provides water and related environment services to approximately 2.5 million people, comprising 4.5% of Uganda’s population. It is the main source of water for Mbarara City, a major hub for western Uganda, hosting a population of over one million people and sustaining beverage, dairy, construction, municipal solid waste, health, and agro-industrial industries.
So far, 95 households in the catchment are able to access safe water through the provision of nine community rainwater harvesting systems. In addition, a zero-grazing dairy project was established which will further reduce erosion and provide alternative livelihoods for community members; a total river buffer length of 18 km, and total catchment area of 14,567 hectares was mapped for restoration; and micro-catchments in the area have been supported and strengthened in best restoration and governance practices. 1076 households are undertaking river and Wetland management, forest restoration and sustainable land management.
“AB InBev has been able to make substantial progress on ensuring that water resources are protected, and that farmers and communities are better able to access sustainable sources of water without depletion,” said Onapito.
Onapito also handed over farming equipment and Shs 12M towards the revolving fund of the Bahinji Twetungula farmer’s group from Kakigani area.
The 3RD phase will focus on project visibility and awareness of all stakeholders and the Rwizi CMC