In Uganda, urban centers that have less than 50,000 inhabitants are considered small towns. Up to 2013 there were 23 large urban centers under the management of NWSC. The Government realized that large urban centers were moving faster than small towns and therefore, expanded the mandate of NWSC to include all small towns in Uganda. The systems in small towns had been until then managed by private operators in small towns. However the Ministry of Water and Environment (MWE) believed that these operators were not best positioned to serve these towns for two reasons:

- they lacked the capacity and manpower to operate the systems and 
- the revenues that operators were able to raise were too low to efficiently maintain the systems.

In the last three years NWSC has taken over 170 systems, and are currently implementing a strategy to keep absorbing more of these systems in the coming years. The logic behind this takeover was that NWSC already had the technical expertise available, and their more heterogeneous portfolio (big and small towns) would allow for cross-subsidization among systems or schemes. Currently, there are 200 small towns still under private operation management, but gradually being taken over by NWSC. Besides the small towns that are slowly being taken over by NWSC there are as well the schemes in the ‘rural growth centers’. These growth centers are originally rural areas that have been rapidly developing in the recent past. Officially, these systems do not fall under the mandate of NWSC and can be operated by private operators, or increasingly by ‘scheme operators’. Scheme operators are one-individual enterprises that operate and maintain a publicly developed scheme. Regularly the operator provides the collected fees to the Government (MWE) to receive in return a % of the revenues. In principal, in the near future, all water schemes in small towns and ‘rural growth centers’ will be operated as a public services.

The project in Uganda will focus in developing research in the region of Busheny.