Land Use and Land Cover Change Effects on Water Quality Characteristics of the Maziba Sub-Catchment, Western Uganda

Cooperating countries: Uganda and Austria

Coordinating institution: Kabale University, Alex Saturday, 

Partner institution: BOKU University

Project duration: 1 July  2023 - 30 June 2025


In 1991, Uganda had a population of 18 million people. In only 30 years, in 2020, the population has increased by a factor of 2.6 and has reached 46 million. Similarly, to the nationwide trends, the Maziba catchment of western Uganda has experienced rapid human population growth, encroachment of natural habitats and environmental degradation, which has an immediate negative impact on water quality due to (agrochemical) pollution, sediment and nutrient loading of surface waters through increased erosion and surface run-off. The changes in land use and land cover (LULC) and the connections to the water quality characteristics are however poorly understood, not only in the Maziba catchment but also for other similar catchments typical for south-western Uganda. At the same time the capacities to analyse and understand the connections between LULC and water quality - a prerequisite for providing adaption and mitigation for the future - are limited. Given this background, the study will (i) investigate LULC changes for the period 1991-2020, (ii) measure and analyse the spatio-temporal distribution of physiochemical water quality parameters, (iii) investigate the effects of LULC on soil erosion, including the estimation of sediment delivery ratios, and (iv) build human capacities through training of relevant tools and methods. The study will provide a consistent database and new insights into the space-time water physiochemistry and soil erosion rates vital for supporting better regulation, development and management of the concerned land and water resources. For sustainability, the research findings will be published in scientific journals, but also leaflets and posters in non-technical language for the continued support of the existing national policies in Uganda, also geared towards the realization of relevant SDGs (i.e., SDG-2, SDG-3, SGD-6, and SDG -13).