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[[Africa Groundwater Atlas Home | Africa Groundwater Atlas]] >> [[Hydrogeology by country | Hydrogeology by country]] >> Hydrogeology of Uganda
 
[[Africa Groundwater Atlas Home | Africa Groundwater Atlas]] >> [[Hydrogeology by country | Hydrogeology by country]] >> Hydrogeology of Uganda
  
[[File:CC-BY-SA_logo_88x31.png | frame | This work is licensed under a [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License]]]
 
  
Uganda has been inhabited for thousands of years. Some of the earliest farmers were Bantu speakers, who gradually cleared forest to develop agricultural land for cultivation, and maintained a kinship-organised system of government that expanded by around 1000 AD to much larger polities, some governing over a million people. At the same time there were also large pastoralist groups, including both Nilotic and Bantu-descended peoples, with a complex interaction between pastoralist and agriculturalist societies. In the mid 19th century, Uganda came in increasing contact with outside influences, including from Egypt, Britain, France, Germany and Zanzibar-based Arab Muslims, often with military conflict. Uganda came under British colonial rule in 1894, gaining independence in 1962. Since then it has seen a number of periods of political and social unrest, some country-wide and some focussed in particular areas. Since the 1980s, a civil war between the Ugandan state and the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda, and participation in the Second Congo War, among other things, have had severe impacts on the development of infrastructure, including water supply.
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Uganda has been inhabited for thousands of years. Some of the earliest farmers were Bantu speakers, who gradually cleared forest to develop agricultural land for cultivation, and maintained a kinship-organised system of government that expanded by around 1000 AD to much larger polities, some governing over a million people. Pastoralist groups, including both Nilotic and Bantu-descended peoples, were also widespread, and there was a complex interaction between pastoralist and agriculturalist societies. In the mid 19th century, Uganda came in increasing contact with outside influences, including from Egypt, Britain, France, Germany and Zanzibar-based Arab Muslims, often with military conflict. Uganda came under British colonial rule in 1894, gaining independence in 1962. Since then it has seen a number of periods of political and social unrest, some country-wide and some focussed in particular areas. Since the 1980s, a civil war between the Ugandan state and the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda, and participation in the Second Congo War, among other things, have had severe impacts on the development of infrastructure, including water supply.
  
 
Services are the largest sector of Uganda’s economy, contributing over 50% of GDP in 2007. However, Uganda’s export income is also heavily reliant on coffee, which is the largest agricultural export. Other important sources of export income are oil, base metals and products, and fish. In the mid 2000s, commercially viable oil and natural gas reserves were confirmed in Uganda, and in 2017, production licences were held by several international companies.  
 
Services are the largest sector of Uganda’s economy, contributing over 50% of GDP in 2007. However, Uganda’s export income is also heavily reliant on coffee, which is the largest agricultural export. Other important sources of export income are oil, base metals and products, and fish. In the mid 2000s, commercially viable oil and natural gas reserves were confirmed in Uganda, and in 2017, production licences were held by several international companies.  
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|Freshwater withdrawal as % of total renewable water resources || ||1.06 || || || ||
 
|Freshwater withdrawal as % of total renewable water resources || ||1.06 || || || ||
 
|-
 
|-
|Total renewable groundwater (Million cubic metres/year) ||  || || || ||29,000 ||
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|Renewable groundwater resources (Million cubic metres/year) || No data || No data || No data || No data || No data || No data
|-
 
|Exploitable: Regular renewable groundwater (Million cubic metres/year) || No data || No data || No data || No data || No data || No data
 
 
|-
 
|-
 
|Groundwater produced internally (Million cubic metres/year) || || ||  || ||29,000 ||
 
|Groundwater produced internally (Million cubic metres/year) || || ||  || ||29,000 ||
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This section provides a summary of the geology of Uganda. The geology map on this page shows a simplified overview of the geology at a national scale (see the [[Geology | Geology resource page]] for more details).  
 
This section provides a summary of the geology of Uganda. The geology map on this page shows a simplified overview of the geology at a national scale (see the [[Geology | Geology resource page]] for more details).  
 
[https://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/downloadGIS.html '''Download a GIS shapefile of the Uganda geology and hydrogeology map'''].
 
  
 
A higher resolution national geological map, at 1: 1 million scale, was published in 2014 by the Geological Survey of Finland ([http://tupa.gtk.fi/kartta/erikoiskartta/ek_094.pdf Lehto et al. 2014]), with detailed supporting information in an accompanying report ([http://tupa.gtk.fi/julkaisu/specialpaper/sp_055.pdf Westerhof et al. 2014]).
 
A higher resolution national geological map, at 1: 1 million scale, was published in 2014 by the Geological Survey of Finland ([http://tupa.gtk.fi/kartta/erikoiskartta/ek_094.pdf Lehto et al. 2014]), with detailed supporting information in an accompanying report ([http://tupa.gtk.fi/julkaisu/specialpaper/sp_055.pdf Westerhof et al. 2014]).
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Further information can be found in the references listed at the bottom of this page. Many of these references can be accessed through the [http://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/index.cfm Africa Groundwater Literature Archive].
 
Further information can be found in the references listed at the bottom of this page. Many of these references can be accessed through the [http://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/index.cfm Africa Groundwater Literature Archive].
  
[[File:Uganda_Geology3.png | center | thumb| 500px | Geology of Uganda at 1:5 million scale. Based on map described by Persits et al. 2002/Furon and Lombard 1964. For more information on the map development and datasets see the [[Geology | geology resource page]]. [https://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/downloadGIS.html Download a GIS shapefile of the Uganda geology and hydrogeology map].]]
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[[File:Uganda_Geology.png | center | thumb| 500px | Geology of Uganda at 1:5 million scale. Based on map described by Persits et al. 2002/Furon and Lombard 1964. For more information on the map development and datasets see the [[Geology | geology resource page]].]]
 
 
  
 
{| class = "wikitable"
 
{| class = "wikitable"
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This section provides a summary of the hydrogeology of the main aquifers in Uganda.  More information is available in the references listed at the bottom of this page. Many of these references can be accessed through the [http://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/index.cfm Africa Groundwater Literature Archive].
 
This section provides a summary of the hydrogeology of the main aquifers in Uganda.  More information is available in the references listed at the bottom of this page. Many of these references can be accessed through the [http://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/index.cfm Africa Groundwater Literature Archive].
  
The hydrogeology map on this page shows a simplified overview of the type and productivity of the main aquifers at a national scale (see the [[Africa Groundwater Atlas Hydrogeology Maps | Hydrogeology map resource page]] for more details).
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The hydrogeology map on this page shows a simplified overview of the type and productivity of the main aquifers at a national scale (see the [[Hydrogeology Map | Hydrogeology map resource page]] for more details).  
 
 
[https://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/downloadGIS.html '''Download a GIS shapefile of the Uganda geology and hydrogeology map'''].
 
  
 
Other hydrogeological maps at different scales have been produced in different formats, including:
 
Other hydrogeological maps at different scales have been produced in different formats, including:
  
:- A 1989 national hydrogeological map of Uganda, which can be viewed on the [https://fishy.bgr.de/whymis/images/country/uganda_1989.jpg WHYMAP] website. The [https://fishy.bgr.de/whymis/images/country/uganda_1989_legend.jpg legend] for this map can be viewed separately.
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:- A 1989 national hydrogeological map of Uganda, which can be viewed on the [http://www.bgr.de/app/fishy/whymis/index.php?&type=country&id=UGA WHYMAP] website.  
 
:- A series of national and district (e.g. at scales of 1:160 000) groundwater maps, which were produced through the EU-funded '''Mapping of Groundwater Resources Programme'''. These include maps of water supply coverage, hydrogeological characteristics, groundwater potential, water quality and groundwater development technology options. An introduction to this programme can be found in [http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf Tindimugaya] (2004). Many outputs from the programme, including maps and reports, can be found on the [http://www.mwe.go.ug/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=27&Itemid=223 Ministry of Water and Environment website].
 
:- A series of national and district (e.g. at scales of 1:160 000) groundwater maps, which were produced through the EU-funded '''Mapping of Groundwater Resources Programme'''. These include maps of water supply coverage, hydrogeological characteristics, groundwater potential, water quality and groundwater development technology options. An introduction to this programme can be found in [http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf Tindimugaya] (2004). Many outputs from the programme, including maps and reports, can be found on the [http://www.mwe.go.ug/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=27&Itemid=223 Ministry of Water and Environment website].
  
 
'''Summary'''
 
'''Summary'''
  
The main aquifer used in Uganda is weathered and/or fractured Precambrian crystalline basement rocks. These aquifers generally have low permeability and low storage. Their physical aquifer properties are largely a function of tectonic history and long-term cycles of weathering and erosion. Most boreholes in the country tap groundwater from basement aquifers.  
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The main aquifer used in Uganda is weathered and/or fractured crystalline basement rocks. These aquifer generally have low-permeability and low storage. Their physical aquifer properties are largely a function of tectonic history and long-term cycles of weathering and erosion. Most boreholes in the country tap groundwater from basement aquifers.  
  
 
Sedimentary aquifers in Uganda are mainly unconsolidated alluvial (river) deposits, in currently active or palaeo river channels. These can be thick - more than 50 m thick in some places - and can be moderately to highly permeable.   
 
Sedimentary aquifers in Uganda are mainly unconsolidated alluvial (river) deposits, in currently active or palaeo river channels. These can be thick - more than 50 m thick in some places - and can be moderately to highly permeable.   
  
Very few boreholes have been drilled in volcanic rocks, Precambrian metasedimentary rocks or younger consolidated sedimentary rocks in Uganda, and little is therefore known about their aquifer properties.  
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Very few boreholes have been drilled in volcanic rocks in Uganda, and little is therefore known about their aquifer properties.
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Igneous, consolidated sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks are not widely used as aquifers.  
  
  
[[File:Uganda_Hydrogeology3.png | center | thumb | 500px | Hydrogeology of Uganda at 1:5 million scale. For more information on how the map was developed see the [[Hydrogeology Map | Hydrogeology map]] resource page. [https://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/downloadGIS.html Download a GIS shapefile of the Uganda geology and hydrogeology map].]]  
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[[File:Uganda_Hydrogeology.png]] [[File: Hydrogeology_Key.png | 500x195px]]
  
  
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|Named Aquifers||General Description||Water quality issues||Recharge
 
|Named Aquifers||General Description||Water quality issues||Recharge
 
|-
 
|-
|Alluvial (fluvial) ||Unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers in Uganda are mostly found along current river channels or palaeochannels in which fluvial/alluvial gravel, sand and silt have been deposited. For example, in southwest Uganda at Rukungiri there are pockets of palaeochannel alluvial gravels tens of metres thick, which have very high aquifer productivity (Tindimugaya 2008).
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|Alluvial (fluvial) ||Unconsolidated sedimentary aquifers in Uganda are mostly found along current river channels or palaeochannels in which fluvial/alluvial gravel, sand and silt have been deposited.  
  
 
Yields of more than 50 m³/hour are possible in the unconsolidated fluvial aquifers. Hydraulic conductivity typically varies between 0.02 and 15 m/day, while average transmissivity is 34 m²/day. Average storage is 0.1.  
 
Yields of more than 50 m³/hour are possible in the unconsolidated fluvial aquifers. Hydraulic conductivity typically varies between 0.02 and 15 m/day, while average transmissivity is 34 m²/day. Average storage is 0.1.  
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Groundwater monitoring and the collation and archiving of groundwater data in the National Groundwater Database have led to a better understanding of groundwater resources in Uganda.  
 
Groundwater monitoring and the collation and archiving of groundwater data in the National Groundwater Database have led to a better understanding of groundwater resources in Uganda.  
  
There are currently no widespread issues with groundwater quantity, although localised groundwater depletion may be an issue where the low permeability basement aquifers are exploited by high yielding electric pumps. Estimates of recharge are highly variable.  
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There are currently no widespread issues with groundwater quantity, although localised groundwater depletion may be an issue where the low permeability basement aquifers are exploited by high yielding electric pumps.  
  
 
Groundwater quality is generally good, although high concentrations of iron and manganese are common in the crystalline basement aquifers, and microbial contamination related to faecal waste has been observed in shallow urban aquifers. High fluoride concentrations are often observed in igneous groundwaters, for example at Kisoro and Mbale.  
 
Groundwater quality is generally good, although high concentrations of iron and manganese are common in the crystalline basement aquifers, and microbial contamination related to faecal waste has been observed in shallow urban aquifers. High fluoride concentrations are often observed in igneous groundwaters, for example at Kisoro and Mbale.  
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=== Groundwater management===
 
=== Groundwater management===
  
====Governance and Legislation====
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====Legislation====
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The key legislation governing groundwater management in Uganda is The Water Act, Cap 152, and The Environment Act.
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The main regulations under The Water Act are:
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*Water Resources Regulations (1998)
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*Waste Discharge Regulations (1998)
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The main regulations under The Environment Act are:
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*Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (1998)
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*The National Environment (Standards for Discharge of Effluent into Water or on Land) Regulations (1999)
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*The National Environment (Waste Management) Regulation (1999).
  
Two main government institutions are responsible for implementing national legislation on the sustainable use of natural resources, including groundwater, in Uganda. They are the Directorate of Water Development ([http://www.mwe.go.ug/directorates/directorate-water-development DWD]) and the Directorate of Water Resources Management ([http://www.mwe.go.ug/directorates/directorate-water-resources-management DWRM]). Both these directorates sit within the Ministry of Water and Environment ([http://www.mwe.go.ug/ MWE]).
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These regulations were put in place to ensure the sustainable use of the environment and natural resources across Uganda. They are implemented by two main institutions: the Directorate of Water Development (DWD) and the Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM). These directorates sit within the Ministry of Water and Environment.  
  
 
The DWD is responsible for groundwater regulation, and for the coordination, planning and development of groundwater sources.
 
The DWD is responsible for groundwater regulation, and for the coordination, planning and development of groundwater sources.
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*Developing and maintaining national water laws, policies and regulations
 
*Developing and maintaining national water laws, policies and regulations
*Managing and monitoring groundwater (and all water) resources through issuing permits for water use, water abstraction, drilling and waste water discharge
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*Managing and monitoring groundwater resources through issuing permits for water use, water abstraction (by motorised pump and canals), drilling and waste water discharge
 
*Collecting information on newly drilled boreholes
 
*Collecting information on newly drilled boreholes
 
*Integrated Water Resources Management
 
*Integrated Water Resources Management
 
*Management of transboundary water resources  
 
*Management of transboundary water resources  
 
The two key pieces of legislation governing groundwater management in Uganda are The Water Act, Cap 152, and The Environment Act.
 
 
The main regulations under The Water Act are:
 
 
*Water Resources Regulations (1998)
 
*Waste Discharge Regulations (1998)
 
 
The main regulations under The Environment Act are:
 
 
*Environmental Impact Assessment Regulations (1998)
 
*The National Environment (Standards for Discharge of Effluent into Water or on Land) Regulations (1999)
 
*The National Environment (Waste Management) Regulation (1999).
 
  
 
====Borehole Information and Database====
 
====Borehole Information and Database====
  
Collecting information on newly drilled boreholes is done through drilling contractors, who are obliged to return borehole completion forms quarterly to the Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM) for each borehole drilled, with a summary of key borehole information. This information is stored in the National Groundwater Database (NGWDB). The NGWDB generally contains information only on boreholes deeper than 30 m. Shallower boreholes and wells are not generally recorded, as they are not generally given a national borehole number. A hard copy of the drilling completion reports is also stored at the DWRM offices in Entebbe. A summary of the NGWDB is given in [http://www.mwe.go.ug/sites/default/files/library/Consolidated%20Hydrological%20YearBook%201978-2014%20for%20Uganda.pdf MWE] (2017).
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Collecting information on newly drilled boreholes is done through drilling contractors, who are obliged to return borehole completion forms to the Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM) for each borehole drilled, with a summary of key borehole information. In most cases, the returned forms are accompanied by additional supporting information in the form of a completion report, which can include siting information, adrillers log, construction data, pumping test data, water quality data and pump installation data. If the summary forms are not fully completed or the information needs to be checked, this accompanying information can be vital.  
 
 
In most cases, the returned borehole completion forms are accompanied by additional supporting information in the form of a completion report, which can include siting information, a drillers log, construction data, pumping test data, water quality data and pump installation data. If the summary forms are not fully completed or the information needs to be checked, this accompanying information can be vital.  
 
  
 
Drillers must request DWRM 'national borehole numbers' from DWRM. These numbers are usually only allocated to boreholes deeper than 30 m, although some shallow boreholes may be given a number. In general, dug wells, hand augered wells and most boreholes shallower than 30 m are not given a national number, but instead usually receive a local District-based number. Most shallow wells are not, therefore, recorded at a national level.
 
Drillers must request DWRM 'national borehole numbers' from DWRM. These numbers are usually only allocated to boreholes deeper than 30 m, although some shallow boreholes may be given a number. In general, dug wells, hand augered wells and most boreholes shallower than 30 m are not given a national number, but instead usually receive a local District-based number. Most shallow wells are not, therefore, recorded at a national level.
  
====Groundwater Monitoring====
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Drillers are required to submit completion forms (and any reports) to DWRM at the end of each quarter for boreholes drilled in that quarter. This information is then entered in the national groundwater database (NGWDB). The NGWDB generally contains information only on boreholes deeper than 30 m - shallower wells are not generally recorded, as they are not generally given a national borehole number. A hard copy of the drilling completion reports is also stored at the DWRM offices in Entebbe.  
 
 
There is a national groundwater monitoring network, which in 2017 consisted of 55 boreholes: 23 were already operational and 23 were newly drilled and awaiting instrumentation. Some of the monitoring boreholes are sited close to abstraction boreholes to monitor the effects of abstraction, but most are sited away from any major groundwater abstraction in order to monitor natural groundwater level fluctuations. At 21 of these sites there is also a rain gauge. An overview of groundwater monitoring is given in [http://www.mwe.go.ug/sites/default/files/library/Consolidated%20Hydrological%20YearBook%201978-2014%20for%20Uganda.pdf MWE] (2017]).
 
  
 
=== Transboundary aquifers===
 
=== Transboundary aquifers===
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===References===
 
===References===
Many of the references below, and others relating to the hydrogeology of Uganda, can be accessed through the [https://www.bgs.ac.uk/africaGroundwaterAtlas/atlas.cfc?method=listResults&title_search=&author_search=&category_search=&country_search=UG&placeboolean=AND&singlecountry=1 Africa Groundwater Literature Archive].
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Many of the references below, and others relating to the hydrogeology of Uganda, can be accessed through the [http://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/searchResults.cfm?title_search=&author_search=&category_search=&country_search=UG&placeboolean=AND&singlecountry=1 Africa Groundwater Literature Archive].
  
 
====Geology: Key references====
 
====Geology: Key references====
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Ministry of Water and Environment. 2016. [http://envalert.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SPR-2016_final.pdf Water and Environment Sector Performance Report 2016].  
 
Ministry of Water and Environment. 2016. [http://envalert.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/SPR-2016_final.pdf Water and Environment Sector Performance Report 2016].  
 
Ministry of Water and Environment. 2017. [http://www.mwe.go.ug/sites/default/files/library/Consolidated%20Hydrological%20YearBook%201978-2014%20for%20Uganda.pdf Consolidated Hydrological Yearbook for Uganda 1978-2014].
 
  
 
Ministry of Water and Environment. 2017. [http://www.mwe.go.ug/library/water-supply-atlas Uganda Water Supply Atlas 2017].  
 
Ministry of Water and Environment. 2017. [http://www.mwe.go.ug/library/water-supply-atlas Uganda Water Supply Atlas 2017].  
  
 
Tindimugaya C. 2004. [http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf Groundwater mapping and its implications for rural water supply coverage in Uganda]. Presentation at 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientane, Lao PDR.  
 
Tindimugaya C. 2004. [http://wedc.lboro.ac.uk/resources/conference/30/Tindimugaya.pdf Groundwater mapping and its implications for rural water supply coverage in Uganda]. Presentation at 30th WEDC International Conference, Vientane, Lao PDR.  
 
Tindimugaya C. 2004. [https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320263629_Groundwater_flow_and_storage_in_weathered_crystalline_rock_aquifer_systems_of_Uganda Groundwater flow and storage in weathered crystalline rock aquifer systems of Uganda]. PhD Thesis, University College London, UK.
 
 
Traoré U. 2019. [http://www.rural-water-supply.net/en/resources/details/875 Challenges of Water Well Drillers & Water Well Drillers Associations: Case Studies of Six Countries (Angola, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Nigeria, United States of America, and Uganda)]. Skat Foundation and the Rural Water Supply Network, St. Gallen Switzerland, September 2019.
 
  
 
UNESCO. 2006.  [http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001467/146760e.pdf  Water, a shared responsibility]. National Water Development Report: Uganda, prepared for the 2nd UN World Water Development Report.
 
UNESCO. 2006.  [http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001467/146760e.pdf  Water, a shared responsibility]. National Water Development Report: Uganda, prepared for the 2nd UN World Water Development Report.
  
United Nations. 1989. [https://www.bgs.ac.uk/africaGroundwaterAtlas/atlas.cfc?method=ViewDetails&id=AGLA060023 Groundwater in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa: Uganda]. United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development.  
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United Nations. 1989. [http://www.bgs.ac.uk/africagroundwateratlas/fulldetails.cfm?id=AGLA060023 Groundwater in Eastern, Central and Southern Africa: Uganda]. United Nations Department of Technical Cooperation for Development.  
  
  

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