Assessment of vulnerability to water stress among communities in selected districts of the cattle corridor in Uganda
The frequency, severity and coverage of climate-induced water stress in the cattle corridor of Uganda is increasing significantly due to climate change and variability. The limited information on nature and extent of climate-related water stress being experienced in the cattle corridor has restrained the ability of local commodities from adapting to its associated impacts. This study was carried out to assess exposure to climate-related water stress, major water-related vulnerability levels and the existing adaptive capacity of local commodities. Household surveys, key informant interviews and focus group discussions were conducted in four districts namely; Nakasongola, Rakai, Sembabule and Soroti located in the cattle corridor. A total of 640 households were interviewed. SPI and Euclidean Distance Analysis integrated in GIS environment were used as indicators for exposure to water stress. Data were analyzed using one way MANOVA to compare average ratings of variables. The findings of the study show that the trends of exposure to water stress were perceived to have significantly increased in the past 10-20years due to the increased frequency, severity and difficulty of coping with climate-related hazards. The results of the SPI were synonymous with observations of respondents showing that water stress only increased during dry seasons. However, the pattern of water stress significantly varied throughout the year from one district to another. Households in Nakasongola and Sembabule moved the longest distances to reach their water sources. Crop failure and emaciation of animals due to water stress were the most damaging impacts of water-related hazards. In Nakasongola, communities were highly susceptible to termites which damage food crops, forage and houses. The climate adaptation information received was inadequate and at times unreliable. The study recommends the need to disseminate and inform local communities in the cattle corridor of Uganda with accurate, relevant and timely information on water-related hazards.