River Rwizi is located in Ankole Sub-region, western Uganda. River Rwizi, which covers approximately 8,200km, is the source of water for livelihood to both people and animals in Rakai, Lyantonde, Isingiro, Lwengo, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Buhweju, Sheema and Rubirizi.
The river is served by many swamps that include, Nyakafumura part of Mushasha water catchment and Kanyabukanja wetland. These swamps serve as water reservoirs or catchments that release water slowly to the river to serve communities around.
It originates from Buhweju hills with various tributaries from various Nkore hills and pours its water in Lake Victoria via the drainage systems of Lake Mburo, Lake Kachera and Kijanebalola.
However, the river is under threat of drying up due to human activities. It has lost a considerable percentage of its water catchment due to human activities that include crop growing on the river banks.
The river is being degraded whereby the swamps are cleared due to human pressure to create land for crop growing and animal rearing. For example, Nyakafumura has been cleared to create land for farming both animal and crop growing, Kanyabukanja wetland in Karungu subcounty has also been converted into farmland.
After clearing the above swamps, the whole papyrus vegetation has been cleared leaving the land bare to erosion agents .When it rains, the soil is washed directly to the river and this has resulted in silting, which reduces on the water volumes. Residents from the surrounding areas also dump garbage into the river.
Continuous destruction and dumping of garbage in the river puts the surrounding communities and country at large at risk of water scarcity and diseases such as cholera.
A lot of environmental destruction has been taking place in Uganda and this puts our country at risk of losing the green economy .
The recent destruction of Bugoma Forest and many swamps has left the country at loss of its beauty and this needs serious intervention. The National Environmental Management Authority should come on board and enforce laws to arrest people encroaching on the river banks to grow crops and rear animals. Section 36 of the National Environment Act provides for protection of wetlands and prohibiting any person from reclaiming, erecting or demolishing any structure in a wetland.
Surrounding communities and leaders at different levels should stop the ills being going on at River Rwizi to save the country from environmental degradation.