Uganda is a true description of a pearl –precious, lustrous and beautiful, and in this case, she is the pearl of Africa. Among the most amazing details that Uganda possesses is the fact that despite being a landlocked country, 25% of her entirety is covered with fresh water.
Of the total area of the country which is 241,039 square kilometers, 43,942 square kilometers is occupied by fresh water bodies some of which include: lakes, rivers, swamps, dams, and many more.
Uganda hosts some of the most popular water bodies in the world for instance Lake Victoria (Nalubaale), which she shares with Kenya and Tanzania, is the largest lake in Africa and second-largest in the world. The great Nile River, stretching all the way North through Sudan to Egypt, has its source in Lake Victoria. The numerous tributaries of the Nile as well make up part of Uganda’s waters.
Other fresh water bodies include Lake Albert, George and Edward found in the Western part of the country, Lake Kyoga, Lake Mburo, to mention but a few. Mountains are also sources to rivers for example the glaciers from the Rwenzori Mountain ranges.
Most of the water bodies in Uganda are found in Central, Eastern, Western and Southern Uganda, while most parts of the North, especially the North East are relatively arid areas an example being the Karamoja region.
With a number of well-recognized water bodies watering the country’s surface, Uganda boasts of a tropical climate characterized by reliable supply of rainfall and this is responsible for maintaining the water levels at optimum. In return, the water bodies are also instrumental in shaping the climate through the production of convectional rainfall.
This water being fresh is habitat to various aquatic animals including crocodiles, fish, snakes, turtles, hippopotami, amphibians, and very many more. It is for this reason that a lot of interest is put on conserving the water bodies in order to preserve the aquatic dwelling within.
Uganda’s fresh water is a big boost to her economy as it supports commercial activities. Fishing is made possible by the fact that varieties of fish species like tilapia, Nile perch, mudfish, eels, silver fish (mukene), and others can be found in her fresh waters.
Aside from fishing is tourism –the fact that the fresh water supports aquatic life, wildlife also dwells therein. Uganda’s water bodies are therefore a great place to view several wild animals, some of which despite being non-aquatic simply stay at the shores and banks of the water to cool off the heat.
One cannot talk about fresh water and forget water sports, a specialty for both the natives and tourism. Swimming and other water sports have been popularized around the water bodies. In Entebbe for example, a number of beaches have been established around Lake Victoria, owing to the fact that she is a fresh water lake, some of which include: Aero, Sports, Lake Victoria, Resort, Lido, and many more.
However, apart from the fresh water bodies, Uganda also has a salty lake –Lake Katwe, which is very important in salt mining.
Regardless of the fact that fresh water mainly refers to not being salty as would be the case with the Indian Ocean, it goes hand in hand with it being unpolluted. Sadly, it has been noted that bad practices like poor waste disposal into water bodies has caused them to get polluted.
It is therefore every Ugandan’s responsibility to safeguard our fresh water as it is primary to our livelihoods in addition to sustainable development. If our fresh water is preserved, so will Uganda’s identity as the Pearl of Africa.
Enid Karen Nabumati