Crisis has hit Luzira prison after National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) disconnected water to the facility, leaving more than 8,000 inmates in dilemma.
The Thursday detachment from water supply has affected prisoners and more than 25,000 people, including prison staff and their families, all using water bond toilets. This has prompted authorities to seek for emergency supply.
Mr Samuel Epedel, the public relations manager in charge of Kampala Water said the disconnection is a move seeking to recover Shs8 billion in arrears to allow NWSC to install prepaid meters.
“We disconnected the water at Luzira prison but it is a concerted effort following a directive by the ministry of Finance for all government departments to clear their debts on water. The directive was supposed to be implemented by February and this was not done,” said Mr Epedel.
However, he added that the matter was being handled through engagement between the different stakeholders.
Dr Johnson Byabashaija, the commissioner general of prisons said they have sought supply from private firms and police fire equipment to provide water for important facilities as negotiations are ongoing.
“It is an inconvenience and a very serious issue but it is a budget issue that we are working to resolve. We know that NWSC also needs their money yet our budget cannot pay arrears and the only solution is to look out for supplementary to settle this debt,” Dr Byabashaija told journalists.
Dr Byabashaija explained that the nonpayment is a result of consistent under budget which does not address water needs yet all the prison units use water closet bond facilities.
According to the guidelines on management of congested areas like prison facilities, each inmate should have a minimum of 20 liters per day for drinking, bathing and washing their uniform.
Luzira Prison becomes one of the government departments whose water has been cut off in a move by NWSC to recover about Shs200 billion in arrears.
The development is another blow following the disconnection at the prison headquarters.