NAKASEKE. While the district statistics put safe water coverage for the sub-counties of Semuto, Nakaseke and the town councils at 85 per cent, about 600 households from five villages in Kapeeka and Kito sub-counties in Nakaseke District are at a risk of contracting waterborne diseases.
This is due to the unhygienic water drawn from a dam that residents share with animals.
Scarcity of clean water in Nakaseke District is forcing residents of Kivumu, Bulamazi, Kabala, Bulyankuyege and Namyeso villages to draw water from an abandoned government dam at Kivumu Village.
Residents say the other water sources, including boreholes dug in the area became non-functional more than four years ago.
This has forced them to trek long distances in search of safe and clean water.
Mr Ibrahim Nkugwa, the Kivumu Village chairperson, says the dam constructed in 2003 by government has been the main water source for residents after major water sources became non-functional.
Owners of the only available borehole have taken advantage of the situation to charge between Shs500 and Shs700 per jerrycan.
This fee is very expensive for the ordinary residents given the hard economic times.
“The residents who cannot afford that money draw water for domestic use from Kivumu dam, which is also shared by animals. The water has now turned brown because many cattle keepers from the neighbouring villages continue to bring their animals to the same water source,” Mr Nkugwa says.
He adds: “Those that are worried about drinking contaminated water have to part with big sums of money to get water drawn from a borehole located four miles away.”
“Our leaders claim the district plans to renovate the dam and establish motorised deep water boreholes,” says Mr James Kangave, a resident of Kabala village.
“The water at the dam has a bad smell and we are worried since many children drink it while coming back from school. This is unsafe water,” Mr Kangave adds.
Mr Allan Mayanja Ssebunya, the speaker of Buganda Kingdom youth council, says the residents approached him to help mobilise resources to renovate the dam and possibly help fix the non-functional water points.
“Safe water for families is one of the basics which our people should access. The unhygienic water from Kivumu dam could result into residents
contracting diseases, which partly explains why we are looking for organisations which can sponsor renovations for the abandoned water sources,” he says.
At Kivumu Primary School, the shallow well has been non-functional for the last five years, according to Mr Mayanja.
“We mobilised funds for its repair and we expect the school and community near the school to access safe water soon,” he says.
At a recent community meeting, Mr Mayanja told resident that it is unfortunate that more than 600 families share water with animals.
“The water at Kivumu dam is unfit for humans,” he told residents and advised them to establish water committees and demand for better service delivery from the leaders.
Mr Benjamin Makanga, the Nakaseke District secretary for works and technical services, says the district has already mapped out and set schedules to have the non- functional water points repaired while motorised boreholes will replace the hand dug shallow wells to ensure that the water sources do not dry up.
“It is not true that particular areas have been neglected by the district because we already have a schedule for improving the safe water coverage in the affected areas. We currently have no funds to renovate the water dam at Kivumu established by government, but we have water sources that can be improved while new water sources will be established,” he says.
Nakaseke District chairperson Ignatius Kiwanuka Koomu says a bigger population in Nakaseke occupying the cattle corridor areas have a low water table, which cannot sustain hand dug shallow wells which were established by both the non-government organisations and government departments in the last 15 years.
He says the water sources did not serve the population and this partly explains why the district has now zeroed on establishing motorised hand water pumps and water dams in many parts of Nakaseke District.
Recently, the government revealed that its target is to achieve 79 per cent clean water coverage for all rural communities by 2020. According to a recent report by WaterAid, Essential Element, Uganda is one of the 45 developing countries facing chronic under-funding for water, sanitation and hygiene services.
“It is true that we have many non-functional water points in the district, some of which are beyond repair. We have identified those that can be repaired. We call upon communities to establish water user committees to take responsibility at the established new water sources, ” Koomu Ignatious Kiwanuka, Nakaseke District Chairperson
“Parts of Nakaseke cattle corridor areas, including Kikamulo, Kito, Kinyogoga, Kinoni and Ngoma have a water problem partly blamed on the low water table. It would be prudent for leaders to identify the non-functional water sources, which can be repaired while the water dams widely used by residents within the cattle corridor areas should be renovated,” Allan Ssebunya, Buganda Kingdom youth council