A long term aim of Uganda’s water sector reforms since the early 2000s was to establish a ”Water and Sanitation Development Facility” (WSDF) as a means by which to channel funding and technical support into the sector’s service providers, i.e. the local governments in the small towns and rural growth centres, in a way that increases efficiency and reduces transaction costs. It was intended also that the WSDF would ultimately transition into an autonomous fund (with the same initials) with an expanding remit across the sector and its stakeholders.

Currently the Water and Sanitation Development Facility (WSDF) is a Facility of the Directorate of Water Development (DWD) under the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE), with substantially semi-autonomous branches. The WSDF funds and implements water and sanitation facilities in all four regions in the country. During the Joint Water and Sanitation Sector Programme Support of 2008/09-2012/13, three WSDF branches, WSDF-Central, WSDF-East and WSDF-North were established basing on the WSDF-South West, which was established earlier on, in 2006, following piloting of the approach in the South-Western Region since 1996.

The WSDF approach is a mechanism for funding water and sanitation investments In Small Towns (STs), Town Boards (TBs) and Rural Growth Centres (RGCs); the WSDF branches carry out design and construction of water supply and sanitation facilities, including related community mobilization activities and setup of Operation & Maintenance structures. The WSDF operations are guided by an operations manual approved by the Development Partners and the Government of Uganda. The WSDF is funded under the Joint Partnership Fund (JPF): a basket fund under the Joint Water and Environment Sector Support Programme, which receives funding from various sources and Development Partners, for the purpose of implementing Water & Sanitation interventions in the country. As of mid 2014, earmarked JPF funds are provided by the European Union through the Austrian Development Cooperation, the German Government through KfW and the African Development Bank.

  1. Water and Sanitation Development Facility South-West (WSDF–SW), Mbarara
  2. Water and Sanitation Development Facility Central (WSDF-C), Wakiso
  3. Water and Sanitation Development Facility North (WSDF-N), Lira
  4. Water and Sanitation Development Facility East (WSDF-E), Mbale

Objectives of the WSDF

The overall objective of WSDF is “To improve the socio-economic situation and the opportunities for people living in the Small Towns (STs) and Rural Growth Centers (RGC’s) through provision of safe, adequate, reliable, sustainable and accessible water supply and promotion of improved practices of hygiene and sanitation”.

Specific objectives include:

1. Development of piped water supply systems in targeted STs and RGCs that are safe, adequate, reliable and accessible including feasibility studies, water source development, construction, establishment of O&M structures using the “demand driven approach” and incorporating gender issues.

2. Improved general health conditions through reduction of water borne diseases and promotion of good practices of hygiene and sanitation in the targeted STs and RGCs targeting achievement of 100% toilet coverage in the water supply areas by substantial completion of the construction works of the piped water supply systems.

3. Empowered communities in the targeted STs and RGCs through a high degree of community engagement and capacity building for O&M of the installed facilities.

4. Contribution to water resource and environmental protection through the use of appropriate technologies in water and sanitation interventions and adherence to related national guidelines.

5. Development and promotion of appropriate technologies of sanitation facilities both at household level and public infrastructure including sludge management systems

6. Support to operations and maintenance of existing water supply systems through major renewal and expansion of infrastructure to improve their functionality and increase coverage.

wsdf org chart

This structure is used by each WSDF Branch