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Uganda gets water monitoring stations

The government has set up 12 telemetric stations across the country to monitor water cycles of major lakes and rivers.

The stations will strengthen the country’s early-warning systems against natural disasters such as floods and droughts. Telemetric stations are equipped with automated sensors and internet facilities that collect and relay real time data to the national meteorological department at Entebbe.

According to Nebert Wobusobozi, the commissioner for water resources, the stations have been installed in disaster-prone areas, including Kasese, Bududa and Karamoja, to boost the national network of warning systems in the country.

The stations have been built with support from the regional bloc, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) and the European Union (EU) through the Hydrological Cycle Observing System (HYCOS) project.

Officials attending Igad-HYCOS meeting pose for a group photo at Laico Lake Victoria hotel

Through the project, Uganda received $420,000 (approximately Shs 1.5 billion) to set up the aforesaid telemetric stations. Similar telemetric stations have been built in other Igad member states, namely Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Burundi.

With such telemetric stations across the Igad region, experts are confident of building a network of systems that collect meteorological data to enable political leaders and experts make informed decisions on development.

Accordingly, water resources management and climate change experts from each Igad member state convened on September 21 at Laico Lake Victoria hotel in Entebbe, to review the progress of the HYCOS project.

The four-day steering committee meeting, which attracted focal point officials from the water and environment ministries, the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), national meteorological departments, civil society groups and donor representatives, ends tomorrow, October 1.

Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Wobusobozi said that as part of the joint initiative, each Igad country will produce a record year book, showing statistics of water levels when the EU-funded HYCOS project ends in March 2016.

Uganda, Wobusobozi noted, used to have a good hydrological cycle system set up in the 1960s by the colonial government but this was destroyed during the years of turmoil.

“We have restored and automated the observing system with these telemetric stations that can be used to issue early warnings on floods and droughts,” Wobusobozi said.

He added that government plans to boost the network further by installing another 240 telemetric stations in the next three years.

By setting up a joint and well-organized hydrological cycle observing system, experts want to prepare Igad nations for the predicted water crisis and associated climate change effects in the region.

mugalu@observer.ug

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