NATIONAL WATER AND SEWERAGE CORPORATION
NWSC IS IMPLEMENTING SEVERAL LARGE-SCALE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS IN URBAN AND MORE RURAL AREAS.
WATER FOR ALL Sustainable Business Magazine speaks to Dr. Silver Mugisha, CEO of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, about swift expansion, tried-and-tested solutions, and delivering safe water to all Ugandans.
Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) was established in 1972 as an amalgamation of the water boards which existed for the towns of Kampala, Jinja, and Entebbe. The mandate of the corporation is to provide water and sewerage services to the areas entrusted to it by the Ugandan government, an area which today represents 161 towns. The bulk of that expansion has only taken place recently. “In 2013, the geographical coverage was only 23 towns,” explains Dr. Silver Mugisha, CEO of NWSC. “So in the space of less than three years, we’ve realized a massive growth in our coverage, 28 | SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MAGAZINE
and also in the sheer number of customers we’re providing services to. Since 2013, monthly income has increased from about USD4.5M to about USD8.2M; annual pipe extensions have increased from 80-120 km to over 1000 km per year; non-revenue water has reduced from 33.5% to 29%; and annual operating surplus has increased from USD12M to USD20M.” RAPID EXPANSION Such swift growth has brought its share of challenges. “We’ve had to take on new staff to manage all these facilities,” says Dr. Mugisha. “That’s also required a lot of training,
because we have to ensure our new staff are at least at the same level of competency as more experienced staff. Also, with most of these towns, the reason we’ve had to take over is because the level of service is quite low. So we’ve had to revamp and improve service in a very, very short time. It hasn’t been easy, but we’re now stabilizing, and there have been significant improvements in service provision for almost all the towns we’ve taken over.” CONSULTANCY SERVICES Other utilities have taken notice of NWSC’s successful implementation of these reforms.