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Africa Water Experts Meet on Resource Utilization, Protection

FILE - Fiona Nakacwa clears water from her compound in the Lwera wetlands near Lukaya, Uganda on April 5, 2023.

KAMPALA — Water experts across Africa are meeting in Uganda’s capital, Kampala, to discuss issues concerning water resource utilization and protection. They say the meeting is timely — given that it coincides with emerging cases of climate-related disasters leading to hundreds of deaths across the region.

The high-level meeting on transboundary water resources management comprises water experts from major stakeholders including the African Network of Basin Organizations, Regional Economic Communities, the African Ministers' Council on Water and the Nile Basin Initiative.

Sylvester Anthony Matemu, the executive director of the Nile Basin Initiative secretariat, told VOA water resource management is essential.

"Without water really, there’s no industrialization. We are talking of impacts of climate change; water is part of it – the impacts have affected water resources," Matemu said.

He said this is the reason the meeting has convened to set a plan "on how to manage shared waters in Africa," while sharing experiences.

Members are also discussing ways to conserve and protect Africa’s major water bodies.

Tanko Azzika, a senior policy officer for the African Ministers' Council on Water, said effects of climate change have been identified as a stressor for water management.

"You will realize that not only in West Africa but in most of these countries that are now suffering, there is flooding or drought," he said.

Azzika said such calamities affect Africa’s food production and energy harvesting.

Hundreds of people were recently killed by floods in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Verdiane Nyiramana, who heads Nile Basin Discourse, a regional organization that advocates for conservation and equitable use of river Nile water resources, said it is important to involve local citizens in water conservation efforts.

"I always think about those women at the grassroots, the women in rural areas -those women when floods come are the ones to face challenges," Nyiramana said.

She also said other demographics such as young people and people with disabilities should be involved. “If they get all the information needed, the risk may not be high.”

Water experts at the meeting also urge their governments to provide funding to better manage water resources and to protect and conserve water bodies across Africa.