The Uganda Water Supply Atlas 2017 published in 2017.
The Uganda Water Supply Atlas 2010 published in 2010.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Uganda Water Supply Atlas is the result of nationwide baseline data collection exercises carried out in 2009/10 and 2015. It is based on a full census involving physical visits to each water source in the country.

Accurate and up-to date records of existing water sources in the country are crucial for the water sector, as they are the basis for estimating access to safe water supply and allocation of new investments.

The objective of this Atlas is to give an overview of the current water supply situation in Uganda. The central objective is to improve accuracy, validity and accessibility of water sources information in the sector. Therefore, all presented information is calculated live from the operating Water Supply Database (WSDB).

The Atlas is used by government, development partners and other stakeholders for purposes of policy formulation, strategic planning, resource allocation and accountability at national and both inter and intra district levels. It is also key for measuring ongoing performance and monitoring follow up activities in the sector.

The Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), through its Directorate of Water Development (DWD), formulated and kick-started the Water Atlas Update Project (WATSUP), which aims at updating the inventory of water sources on a regular basis.

District Water Officers have ultimate responsibility for collecting, managing and keeping information on water sources at district level up to date. Further, the District Water Officers in charge of the WATSUP coordination are responsible for the financial and planning aspects of the data collection exercise as well as for the validation and quality assurance of all data collected in their respective districts.

The Ministry of Water and Environment is responsible for all activities related to planning and coordination at national level, validation and analysis of the collected data and entering the data into the database.

WE Consult developed the database and user interface of the water atlas.

The atlas covers improved water sources and Water for Production (WfP) facilities. Improved water supply sources include protected springs, shallow wells, deep boreholes, gravity flow schemes, surface water and ground water pumped schemes, and rainwater harvesting tanks. Improved piped water supply outlets include public stand posts, yard taps, kiosks, house (private) connections and institutional connections.

WfP facilities are dams and valley tanks. They are not regarded as improved water supplies for domestic use, hence they are not considered in the calculation of the golden indicators.

Sources recommended for decommissioning and sources not operating for five or more years are assumed to be abandoned, and hence are not included in calculations.

All indicators referred to are based on the agreed golden indicators as defined in the Sector Performance Measurement Framework, established by the Ministry of Water in 2004. Five golden indicators have been assessed and reported on in the Atlas. They are:

  • Access: percentage of people within 1 km (rural) and 0.2 km (urban) of an improved water source.
  • Functionality: Percentage of improved water sources that are functional.
  • Equity: Mean deviation from the district/national average number of persons per improved water point.
  • Management: Percentage of communally managed water sources with active Water & Sanitation Committees.
  • Gender: Percentage of Water & Sanitation Committees with at least one woman holding a key position.

Population figures are projections to the current date based on the UBOS population census as of August 2014. Growth rates are taken from the district level and are assumed to be the same for all Sub-Counties of the corresponding district. As with all calculations also population figures are updated daily.

Access to safe water is the percentage of people within 1 km (rural) and 0.2 km (urban) of an improved water source. The calculation is based on the estimated number of people served per each type of water source. This is for

  • Protected springs: 200 users
  • Shallow wells and deep boreholes: 300 users
  • Kiosks and yard taps for public use: 150 users
  • Yard taps for private use: 24 users
  • Rainwater harvesting tanks >10,000 liters: 6 users
  • Rainwater harvesting tanks <10,000 liters: 3 users
  • House connections: 6 users
  • Institutional connections: 100 users

The total number of people served by a safe water source per sub-county or district is then divided by the total population to calculate the access rate. Population figures are projections based on the population census in August 2014.

A capping is implemented at sub-county and district level, resulting in 95 % access in cases where the access is >95 %. The population served for the entire district is calculated based on the capped percentage.

Functionality is the ratio of functioning improved water sources to the total number of improved water sources.

Sources which are Functional (not in use) are considered as functional if the downtime is less than 5 years or not specified.

The management indicator gives the ratio of communally managed water sources in rural areas with a functioning Water Source Committee to those with any Water Source Committee. A Water Source Committee is defined to be functional if it collects fees, undertakes repairs, holds meetings or cleans the environment/sanitation around the source.

Only protected springs, boreholes and shallow wells are considered and only if they are functional and in use.

Equity presents the deviation between the number of persons per improved water point in rural sub-counties. The higher the value the greater the inequity, while a lower value indicates a better equity.

Therefore, the sub-county and district population is divided by the number of sources in that sub-county, resp. district. The equity is then the absolute value of difference between the district and sub-county ratios.

National and district equity are also based on sub-county level and simply represent the average of considered sub-counties.

The gender indicator gives the ratio of Water Source Committees with at least one woman in a key position versus the total number of functional Water Source Committees. A Water Source Committee is defined to be functional if it collects fees, undertakes repairs, holds meetings or cleans the environment/sanitation around the source. It only considers functional and communally managed sources in rural areas.

The water and sanitation sub-sector follows the official distinction between urban and rural areas by the Ugandan Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Urban areas are those Sub-Counties forming the 19 Municipalities, 178 Town Councils and the City Council Kampala. All other areas are considered rural areas.

Administrative units for districts, sub-counties and villages are based on the preliminary results of the UBOS census 2014. However, DWOs made corrections of errors and aligned the villages to parishes which had not been published by UBOS as of December 2015.

In total the Atlas covers 112 districts with 1,382 sub counties and villages.

The system is fully based on cost-free, open-source software. The heart of the system is a PostgreSQL database. Maps are generated with the spatial extension PostGIS and with Geoserver, which also publishes the data as OGC web services. The user interface and website is built with the PHP framework Codignitor and is based on Bootstrap, making the website fully responsive.

Part of the information is available for public on the website. More reports are accessible through the internal interface. Please contact Ms. Loy Asiimwe via Email: or call +256 772 428079 at DWD for credentials.

The core water source data is also available via an OGC Web Mapping Service (WMS) and Web Feature Service (WFS). You are free to use that data for your projects while crediting DWD as the data source.

All Information is calculated live from the operating Water Supply Database (WSDB). You are free to use the presented data in your report. Please refer to the data source with the date of accessing the data and credit DWD like:

Data source: Directorate of Water Development, Ministry of Water & Environment, Republic of Uganda, day/month/year

If you are referring to administrative units keep in mind that those are based on the preliminary results of the UBOS census as of August 2014.

The database has existed since 2010 and has under gone several version changes as follows

2010: In 2010, the Ministry of Water and Environment contracted Data Care (U) Limited to developed the first web based Water Supply Database. This web based database was developed using MySQL and PHP. This database continued to be used up to 2014. Joshua Mpairwe as lead developer worked with Achilley Kiwanuka Ssebwana among others in this inaugural design and development of the Water Supply Database.

2015: In 2015, the ministry contracted WE Consult to re-develop the this database with a user interface of the water atlas. This new web atlas was developed using PostgreSQL and PHP basing on Codeigniter framework. In this exercise Yannick Tyle a GIS expert contributed greatly to the web map deigns as well as Joseph Ssekono and Joshua Mpairwe - the web programmers also made code contribution.

2021: In 2021, the ministry contracted Joshua Mpairwe as an individual consultant to upgrade the existing database with new features maps, querytools for Point Water Source, Piped Schemes, Administrative Units among others. Joshua is able to accomplish this using the support structures of Centric Solutions (U) Limited . He continues to provides support and maintenance for the Water Supply Database . The actual implementation