Skip to main content

Training Commercial Flower Farms in Uganda on Water Source Protection

Commercial flower farming is a water dependant and -intensive sector. For example, the water footprint to produce one rose is estimated to be 7-13 litres. In Uganda, 13 out of a total of 15 commercial flower farms are located around the Lake Victoria basin, the world’s second largest freshwater lake. They derive their water for production mainly from the lake, but also from groundwater boreholes.

Water source protection planning and implementation

To ensure that the flower farms are using their water sources sustainably, compliance with national regulations is crucial. In 2013, the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment through the Directorate of Water Resources Management, developed Water Source Protection Planning (WSPP) Guidelines (available here: The Ministry of Water and Environment). Five volumes were issued, each on a specific type of infrastructure project, namely point water sources, piped water sources, dams and irrigation schemes and hydropower plants. According to these guidelines, each infrastructure project with water use is expected to prepare and implement a Water Source Protection Plan.

water source protection training
Group photo of participants of the water source protection training in front of the Water Resources Institute of the Ministry of Water & Environment in Entebbe. Copyright: GIZ/ Alisa Knoll

Under the Commercial Flower Farms Integrated Catchment Management Partnership, a 2-day training was conducted to build the capacity of commercial flower farms on water source protection planning and implementation. The training was held on 21st and 22nd of July at the Water Resources Institute in Entebbe. It was organized by the Ministry of Water and Environment through the Water Resources Institute (WRI), Uganda Flowers Exporters Association (UFEA) and NatuReS. During the training, regulators, developers, and commercial flower farms came together to break their silos and share experiences and lessons around water source protection planning and implementation for the sustainable management of water sources.

water source protection
Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, Commissioner for Water Resources Planning and Regulation, opening the training. Copyright: GIZ/Mary Namukose

The training was opened by Dr. Callist Tindimugaya, Commissioner for Water Resources Regulation and Planning, followed by Anna Pamberg, Country Coordinator NatuReS Uganda, and Esther Nekambi, Executive Director of UFEA, each giving their remarks on the importance of the training. During the first sessions, participants were introduced to integrated water resources management and the five volumes of water source protection guidelines.

water source protection training
Ms. Sylvia Nanyunja, Senior Water Officer at the MWE, is sharing experiences of developing a water source protection plan for Luuka. Copyright: GIZ/Alisa Knoll

From theory into practice, a big focus of the training was put on understanding the guidelines, the importance of water source protection and how to plan and implement water source protection measures at farm level. Regulators and other developers shared examples of water source protection plans. A short visit to Lake Victoria offered participants practical insights into the various concepts and methods outlined in the WSPP Guidelines and the necessity to protect the available water resources.

Lake Victoria
Participants at the shores of Lake Victoria, guided by Mr. Louis Mugisha and Ms. Sylvia Nanyunja, showcasing activities to protect the Lake and various concepts in water source protection planning. Copyright: GIZ/Mary Namukose

Moving to the protection of their own flower farm water sources, the second day started with a group exercise where participants had to identify and map their farm’s water sources, water source protection challenges, causes of those challenges, and possible solutions. Based on this, the participants developed action plans containing next steps for water source protection planning at their respective farms. This activity helped the participants in understanding and applying the threats, pathways, and water source included in the conceptual model to their own situation.

water source protection training
Participants from a commercial flower farm during the group exercise, identifying their farms’ water source, protection challenges and solutions. Copyright: GIZ/ Alisa Knoll

Equipped with these action plans and an increased knowledge on water source protection planning and implementation, participants are now able to approach their respective management to initiate next steps towards the protection of their farms’ water sources. Participants left the training also better prepared for their own role at the farms, as far as water source protection is concerned. Thanks to better protected water sources on the farms, investments in the sector can be safeguarded. Bringing together members from 13 commercial flower farms has finally also contributed to building a network of sharing and learning between the farms and fostering sector cooperation.

“Now I have acquired knowledge on water resource protection and am willing to practice it at our farm.”

Training participant

Partnership progress towards jointly tackling flooding in Greater Kampala

Baseline study and scoping process for the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership

Typical flooding situation in Ndeeba, a neighbourhood of Uganda’s capital Kampala. Copyright: KCCA/Leo Kawenyera

The Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area (GKMA) regularly experiences devastating flash floods. These are partly caused by an increase in impermeable surfaces due to rapid and unplanned urban development. Furthermore, improper solid waste disposal leading to clogged drainage channels, as well as a lack of community awareness and participation in the operation and maintenance of drainage networks, have worsened the situation. Floods pose serious socio-economic challenges to both businesses and residents in the area, as workplaces cannot be reached, products not be delivered and clients cannot access businesses. This is threatening both jobs and investment.

To mitigate and adapt to the current flooding challenges, government, private actors, and civil society organizations are now collaborating under the Greater Kampala Integrated Flood Resilience Partnership. They work together to pilot blue-green infrastructure solutions, which include promoting rainwater harvesting, regreening of open spaces to increase infiltration capacity and reduce runoff, and solid waste management through solid waste re-use and recycling schemes. This is intended to promote inclusive engagement in flood control in up to two sub/micro-catchments in Greater Kampala for improved urban resilience to flooding and consequently enhanced socio-economic development.  

Partnership Development

During their first partnership meeting, partners agreed to rally around the partnership concept and followed this up by submitting Letters of Intent (LOI) to confirm their commitment and nominate partnership focal persons. These partners include: the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA), Britannia Allied Industries Ltd (specialised in manufacturing biscuits, confectionery, juices and sauces) and the civil society organisation ACTogether Uganda (a local Non-Governmental Organization affiliated with Slum Dwellers International).

Thereafter, a preliminary scoping study was initiated to better understand the current flash flooding situation in Greater Kampala and inform partnership interventions. During the inception meeting, it was agreed that the study would be conducted across the five proposed sub-catchments Nakivubo, Kinawataka, Lubigi, Namanve, and Nalukolongo, with the goal of narrowing it down to two critical sub-catchments for piloting blue green interventions (rainwater harvesting, regreening, solid waste management).

 The study focused on:

  • Mapping and generating evidence on flooding hotspots
  • Quantifying socio-economic impacts and risks from flooding
  • Identifying quick-win opportunities of investing in blue-green solutions against flooding

A local environmental consultancy ‚Aidenvironment‘ was contracted to conduct the study on behalf of the partnership, alongside partners. The assignment started in November 2021 and was completed in February 2022.

Flood situation and hotspot analysis

Solid waste dumped in a drainage channel in Kinawataka, a suburb of Kampala. Copyright: GIZ/Tyaba Vanessa

The speed of flood water experienced in the study area is generally less than 0.5m/s, which is considered moderate. Even though in some areas a speed of flood water of more than 1.0m/s has been measured, these are not considered dangerous for humans, unless combined with deep water. However, stakeholder consultations in the area revealed that dangerously deep and fast-flowing flood water can occur in local hotspots, if erosion or blockages come together, representing a serious risk for inhabitants, particularly children, elderly and people with health issues.

According to the findings, there are 148 flood hotspots across the five catchments. The total flood area is 208.7 KM2, as can be seen in the area marked red in the map below.

Flood hotspots and extent in the five catchments. Copyright: AIDenvironment

Stakeholder and institutional analysis

During the initial scoping phase, key stakeholders relevant to finding solutions for flood management were identified. They were mapped according to their power and influence over flood resilience interventions and then categorized based on their mandate and shaping power in relation to flood management and implementation of blue-green infrastructure solutions in Greater Kampala.

Selecting the two most critical sub-catchments

The scoping findings informed partners to implement jointly agreed measures in the Nalukolongo and Kinawataka sub catchments, as these promise the highest chances of success for blue-green infrastructure implementation, taking into consideration the relevance in these areas to safeguard jobs and investments threatened due to flooding. Furthermore, ACTogether’s relationship with Kinawataka and UMA’s ongoing engagement with its members in Nalukolongo regarding flood management aided in the selection of these two sub-catchments.

Concepts for nature-based blue-green infrastructure solutions

Following this decision, four blue-green infrastructure concepts were developed for implementation in the Nalukolongo and Kinawataka sub-catchments. The concepts developed include rainwater harvesting, regreening, solid waste management, and a detention pond. Blue-green solutions are innovative in that they offer a long-term natural solution to urban flooding by reintroducing a more natural water cycle into urban environments, while providing environmental, social and economic benefits. Communities are healthier if they are not threatened by dangerous floods or diseases developing in stagnant waters. Businesses benefit from reduced flooding risk to maintain their operations.

Partnership Action Plan: Working group meetings

Partners during the first Partnership Action Plan working group meeting at the Ministry of Water and Environment in Luzira.
Copyright: GIZ/Daniel Ochieng

On February 23rd and March 4th, 2022, the partners held two working group meetings to refine the Partnership Action Plan (PAP). These meetings took place at the Ministry of Water and Environment. Furthermore, partners agreed that after the preliminary scoping is completed, an implementation concept for BGI will be developed. Joint commitment and a commonly agreed way forward are important steps in the partnership development to prevent flooding in Greater Kampala in the long term. This is especially the case as lack of coordination and collaboration often represents a significant hurdle to developing lasting solutions.

The implementation concept

Following the completion of the scoping study, a draft implementation concept was developed to guide the construction of Phase 1 blue-green infrastructure. The concept presents clear flood hotspots, as well as proposed interventions and implementation methods. It is guided by specific goals that aim to reduce flood volumes by encouraging rainwater capture, increasing infiltration capacity by regreening open spaces and drainage channels, and reducing solid waste blockage in drainage channels.

Field visits to two catchments: Nalukolongo and Kinawataka

The partners on 15th and 25th February conducted field visits to the Kinawataka and Nalukolongo sub-catchments respectively to reconfirm flood hotspots and identify areas with the best chances of success for blue-green infrastructure implementation. Interventions, namely rainwater harvesting, regreening of secondary drainage channels and selected patches of public institutions, and reducing solid waste entering drainage channels, will take place in the Kinawataka sub-catchment in the parishes of Ntinda, Kyambogo, Mbuya I and II, and Banda, and in the Nalukolongo sub-catchment in the parish of Mutundwe. It is worth noting that these field trips contributed to the development of the implementation concept by allowing the partners to better understand the causes of flooding in flood hotspots and determine which blue-green solution is appropriate where.

Way forward

Moving forward, partners will agree on concrete blue-green solutions to be implemented, before validating and approving the Partnership Action Plan (PAP), which will represent the partners’ guiding thread throughout the course of the partnership. Meanwhile, Deltares, a research institute on water and subsurface, was hired to provide the partnership with technical support. It will begin the inception (gathering necessary information for flood modelling) and situation analysis stages. Subsequently, partners agreed to convene for a fourth partnership meeting to validate the PAP and the implementation concept; tender for a firm to undertake design and supervision of construction work; and finally sign and launch the PAP.

Joining forces for a common goal: make Greater Kampala flood-resilient

Increasing Greater Kampala’s resilience towards flooding is a complex task. No single actor can tackle this challenge alone, yet everyone is impacted by the risks stemming from devastating floods. And the risk for flooding is even foreseen to increase in the future due to a changing climate and yet to be unfolding new rainfall patterns.

However, with partners from the public sector, private companies, as well as communities and civil society organisations joining forces, a roadmap is now in place to develop joint long-term solutions to minimize the risk of dangerous floods across the city. The systemic approach of the Natural Resources Risk and Action Framework (NRAF) provided specific tools and framework conditions to enable the formation and implementation of the partnership during the past months. Partners along this process jointly decided to implement integrated flood risk management solutions, including a mix of catchment management and engineering solutions, particularly investing in nature-based blue-green infrastructure.

By applying a stewardship approach, empowering all users of natural resources to take responsibility for the available resources and develop collaborative solutions for their sustainable use, partners have set the scene for making Greater Kampala more resilient to flooding in the long-term.

Uganda launches its first ever Green Growth Report

Uganda’s economy is highly dependent on its natural resources. Therefore, it is critical that the country pursues a green growth path in its economic development. The route to inclusive, low-emission economic growth for Uganda is led by the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS). The Strategy strengthens fundamentals to harness existing green growth opportunities to realize Uganda’s 2040 Vision. However, since the inception of this strategy, there has been no monitoring report to track it. Uganda’s National Planning Authority (NPA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) with the support of NatuReS, developed the country’s first Green Growth Report under the theme “Stimulating resource use efficiency in manufacturing and waste management for sustainable development”.

Signed book dummy of the 2020 Uganda Green Growth Report. Copyright: National Planning Authority/Rita Biira

The report highlights key observations in Uganda’s green growth progress between 2017-2020, emerging issues, as well as challenges. It also strengthens the opportunities for scaling up green manufacturing and waste-to-wealth activities and mentions policy concerns. It moreover identifies, documents and reports lessons learned as ways to strengthen the activities required to achieve sustainable manufacturing and waste management in Uganda.

Launch of the Uganda Green Growth Report

As part of the Uganda Water and Environment week (UWEWK) 2022, on Wednesday, 23rd of March, the National Planning Authority (NPA), officially launched the 2020 Uganda Green Growth Report, an event that took place delayed due to Covid-19 restrictions in 2021. The launch was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Water and Environment and with the support of GIZ NatuReS. UWEWK provided a great platform for an interface between sector actors and other stakeholders for knowledge exchange, dialogue and joint learning for the improvement of Uganda’s water and environmental resources.

The launch attracted high-level political and technical participation, including the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, Mr. Alfred Okot Okiidi, the Deputy Chairperson at NPA, Prof. Sam Obwoya, EU Team Leader for Inclusive Green Growth, Mr. Lennart Deridder, and GIZ Portfolio Manager Dr. Michael Klingler. Moreover, representatives of the EU Delegation in Uganda, city clerks, public and private sector executive directors, and other key stakeholders joined the launch event.

From Left to right: Prof. Sam Obwoya Kinyera, Vice-Chairperson, National Planning Authority (NPA), Dr. Michael Klingler, the Portfolio Manager, GIZ Uganda), Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Water and Environment, Mr. Lennart Deridder (EU Delegation), Ronald Kaggwa (NPA), and Mr. Aron Werikhe (NPA), after the launch of the report. Copyright: GIZ/Alisa Knoll

Key remarks during the event

Mr. Alfred Okot Okidi, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Water and Environment, gave the opening remarks. He highlighted that urban development has significantly increased in the country, with waste management representing a significant accompanying challenge, among the many concerns being part of the county’s urbanization trend. Demographic pressures on water and environmental resources furthermore pose a threat to the long-term viability of natural resource-based environmental services that are essential for livelihoods and businesses. He emphasized that it is now more important than ever for the various actors across the country to work together towards inclusive and resilient economic growth. Mr. Okidi urged everybody in their different capacities to reflect on the report, heed its recommendations, keep up and strengthening already ongoing progress, and improve on the areas where progress is still lagging.

Prof. Sam Obwoya Kinyera, Vice-Chairperson from the National Planning Authority (NPA), highlighted that the Green Growth Monitoring Report was informed by three national flagship documents, namely the Uganda Green Growth Development Strategy (UGGDS), the National Development Plan III (NDP III) and the Uganda Vision 2040. He also noted that Uganda has 22 designated industrial parks across the country, which represent business opportunities but also come along with environmental challenges. He therefore proceeded to underscore the need to monitor the state and adoption of green growth technologies and sustainable waste management practices. He also highlighted that there is a need to harness the investment opportunities described in the report and support the identification of best practices that support the sustainable management of waste, occupation safety, and green manufacturing that can be replicated elsewhere. He stated that the National Planning Authority will rally investors and other development partners to drive the green growth agenda in Uganda.

Following these remarks, Mr. Lennart Deridder, the Team Leader for Inclusive Green Economy at the EU Delegation in Uganda, highlighted the significance of the report to Uganda. He stated that the private sector is very crucial in its implementation, which is why the European Union is supporting the “Sustainable Business for Uganda” platform, which brings Ugandan and European entrepreneurs together with the public sector to promote sustainable investment and responsible growth. He noted that four working groups have been launched to discuss areas that are critical for improving the sustainable investment in climate protection, including access to finance, skills and attitude, governance and trade.

Panel Discussion: Existing green growth opportunities and mechanisms for enabling the uptake of the Green Growth Report

Panel discussion with Mr Maurice Mugisha (Moderator), Dr. Collins Oloya (MWE), Mr. Jospeh Kyalimpa (UMA), Mr. Godwin Kamugisha (NEMA) present and Mr. Francis Kisirinya (PSFU) online. Copyright: GIZ/Alisa Knoll

The launch of the report was followed by a panel discussion focusing on the Green Growth Report and its operationalization.

Regarding green growth opportunities within the Water and Environment sector, Mr. Collins Oloya, Director at the Directorate of Environmental Affairs (MWE), noted that the Ministry has initiated the promotion of industrial symbiosis where waste from one industry becomes the resources (raw materials) of other industries.

Mr. Francis Kisirinya, the Deputy Executive Director of Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) noted that small factories which are currently using diesel fuel for production should switch to more reliable and renewable biomass energy, just like the big companies. Also, industries should ensure that they save resources where possible.

Also, Mr. Jospeh Kyalimpa from the Uganda Manufacturers Association (UMA) expressed the need for bottling companies to follow-up and recycle the bottles they produce as mechanisms for the adoption of the recommendations of the green growth report. He noted that UMA is strategizing to accelerate the green growth agenda, bearing in mind the existing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) provisions in the latest National Environment Act. This is done e.g. by piloting an EPR scheme in Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area before scaling it up across the country.

Following him, Mr. Godwin Kamugisha from the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) noted that companies are supported through the provision of an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Certificate to create an enabling environment for carbon trading as one of NEMA’s approaches to support Green House Gas (GHG) emission trade etc.

Operationalization of the report: What is needed and will be done to ensure uptake of recommendations

From Left to right: Kebirunji Elizabeth (NPA), Simon Peter Akena (GIZ), Vanessa Tyaba (GIZ), Harriet Kyomuhendo, (Ministry of Water and Environment), Ronald Kaggwa (NPA), and Mr. Aron Werikhe (NPA), the technical coordination team for the development of the green growth report after the launch of the report. Copyright National Planning Authority/Rita Biira

Dr. Florence Grace Adongo, Director of Directorate of Water Resources Management at the Ministry of Water and Environment, noted that research is an important factor in promoting innovative green growth practices. She stated that there is often insufficient financing to move good interventions to implementation and that there is a need to strengthen institutions to foster compliance. She lamented a lack of monitoring mechanisms, notwithstanding the fact that data availability is critical for evident-based reporting. Dr. Florence also emphasized the importance of aligning monitoring and reporting mechanisms, including digital reporting, to be able to implement the green growth strategy by 2030.

The report’s operationalization road map was presented by Mr. Ronal Kaggwa, the National Planning Authority’s Manager of Production, Trade, and Tourism Planning. It includes activities aimed at incorporating the recommendations from the green growth report into city development plans as well as facilitating adoption by public and private sectors. Among these activities are:

  • Dissemination of the Uganda Green Growth Report to programme lead agencies and cities
  • Development of mechanisms for voluntary green growth reporting
  • Exploration and identification of investment opportunities for horizontal and vertical integration of agro-processed products
  • Development of mechanisms for incorporating investments in gender and inclusivity awareness as an industrial reporting output.
  • Development of composite macroeconomic indicators for green growth integration into fiscal policy and planning
  • Identification and operationalization of partnerships financing support to SMEs and addressing the legal challenges identified in the report
  • Monitoring, evaluation, and provision of oversight during the implementation of the road map

For more information on the 2020 Uganda Green Growth Report, download the report policy brief. Also, follow us on Twitter to stay up to date if you don’t already.