Uganda needs consent to use Nile water

Thursday October 12 2017

Fishermen on Lake Albert.

Fishermen on Lake Albert. Uganda shares Lake Albert with DR Congo and so needs approval to get water from the lake. PHOTO FILE | NMG 

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After resolving the cross-border evacuation route for its crude oil pipeline, Uganda will need to secure a permit from Nile Basin member countries to get water from Lake Albert during oil production.

Oil and gas development needs water and this could have an impact on local resources and potentially spark conflicts.

The oil and gas sector will require substantial water supply during the construction of necessary facilities and the operational phases. Uganda expects to get the water from Lake Albert, which it shares with Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Water extraction from Lake Albert requires the approval of the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Nile Basin Initiative,” said Energy Minister Irene Muloni.

The Nile Basin Initiative is an intergovernmental partnership between 10 countries: Burundi, Sudan, DR Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda. Eritrea participates as an observer.

Egypt in particular is often concerned with any project that has a direct impact on the flow and volumes of the River Nile.

The water demand at the peak of the production phase is estimated to reach 75,000m3 per day.

Owing to high possibility of contamination of natural public water bodies, Uganda will be expected to assure the Nile Basin Initiative countries that it will adhere to strict environmental conservation guidelines to avoid contamination as produced water always come with impurities that could be toxic.

The water issue is the latest list of things Uganda has to do in its bid to development adds to long list of must do things to start oil production by 2020. Other issues include infrastructure and logistics development, land acquisition, environment and social impact assessments.