Wetlands in Lira District covers about 419km2 of which 298 km2 is under permanent and 121km2 are seasonal wetlands. The wetlands in the district are categorized into three major systems namely Olweny Wetland System, Okole Wetlands System, and Moroto Wetland System.
The Olweny wetland system drain into Lake Kwania in Dokolo District, the Moroto system drains into Aswa river system, while the Okole system drains into the Albert Nile. The increasing population in the District continues to exert substantial pressure on the wetland and its resources basically due to increasing need for land for agriculture, settlement, industrial development, urban amongst others.
The Olweny wetland system which is about 10,000 hectares, has had 600 hectares of it area developed into the Itek and Okile rice Project, distributed in Amach sub-county 350 hectares and Barr sub-county 250 hectares.
Out of the four (4) wetland systems in the District, up to 46% of the Okole Wetland has been encroached and degraded by communities for farming due to poor weather which makes crop farming in the upland area unproductive. The rising demand for land for urbanization and peri-urban agriculture also continues to threaten the wetland systems that ramify the areas around Lira municipality. The encroachment and degradation of the wetland continue to provide threats in terms of dwindling surface and ground water availability, micro-climate change, wetland products scarcity with adverse consequences on the quality of life of the communities who depend directly on the wetland for livelihoods.
The Ministry of Water and Environment (Wetlands Management Department) through Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic development continue to support wetlands management wetlands in the district by providing PAF Environment and Natural Resources budget line. The support is restricted in the area of wetland community management planning and awareness creation. Ministry of Local Government also continues to support wetlands sub-sector through provision of Local Government Management and service delivery
– Established District wetlands Office
– Wetland/Environment committees are in place
– Strong political willingness for environmental conservation
– Power in the hand of District Council to plan for wetland management activities.
– Communities are willing to take the front lead in wetlands management
– Government continues to recognize wetlands as an important resource in the fight against poverty
– Communities do appreciate the contribution of wetlands in supporting their livelihood through providing water and other wetland goods and services
– Wetland issues need to be incorporated in the development plans and implemented as part and parcel of the plan.
– A number of local FM radios exist that could used to reach out to communities with messages on wetlands and its conservation.
– The strong political will for the conservation of wetlands could be tapped to mobilize and sensitize communities about wetlands and formulate ordinance and by-laws for sustainable management of wetlands.
– Partners are willing to support management of wetlands
– Lack of understanding of importance of wetland conservation and management.
– Lack of literature about wetlands in local language
– Low funding to support wetland management in the district
– Few staff to guide communities in wise use of wetlands.
– Population increase is causing degradation of wetlands.
– Political interference over the use and management of wetlands
– Lack of proper land use planning
– Increasing urbanization and industrial development.
– Land use pressure and fragmentation
– Waste dumping and pollution of wetlands
– Siltation of wetlands due to degradation of the catchments
– Over-harvesting and utilization of wetland and its resources
– Encroachment and cultivation of wetlands