Uganda was among the first countries in Africa that pioneered Water Safety Plan (WSP) development and implementation, with the first WSP dating back to 2002. The objective of this study was to assess WSP status in Uganda, focusing on the experience of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC), in order to understand the factors that influenced it and strategies for scaling-up. This study consisted of a review of documentation for 20 WSPs, 42 interviews, a focus group discussion and four field visits. Results show that the development of the 20 WSPs over the last 15 years was largely incomplete and diverse. Most of the WSPs focused on system assessment and improvement, but failed to include WSP monitoring, verification and management. The monitoring of control measures was implemented in nine of the 20 systems, while verification took place in the form of internal (5/20) and external (2/20) auditing. The main barriers identified to WSP implementation were inadequate training, team composition and deployment, mistaken perception and inability to evaluate WSP effectiveness. Conversely, the main enabling factors were management commitment, public health responsibility, good customer relations, financial availability and reliable laboratories. These findings suggest a need for more institutionalization of WSPs with improved coordination across stakeholder groups.
Keywords: Uganda; audit; drinking water; risk assessment; water safety plan.