Tuesday March 4 2014

Water prices rise as wells run dry in Elgon region

By Mudangha Kolyangha


Residents in Mbale District and neighbouring areas are facing severe water shortage due to persistent drought.

Currently, the price of a 20-litre jerry can of water has increased from Shs200 to Shs1,000 since many water sources have dried up.

Boda boda riders have also abandoned ferrying passengers to vend water. According to officials from the National Water and Sewage Corporation (NWSC), the biggest challenge they face supplying enough water amid the dry spell.

“Most rivers that supply to the main reservoir have dried up, hampering the body’s plan to effectively pump water to its customers. We also had to carry out maintenance to remove the silt,” Mr Emma Ekanya Pbalangu, the NWSC area manager, said at the weekend.

Most rivers and lakes that supply water to the main water pump station at Manafwa have dried up, making it difficult to pump enough water to meet 9,000 customers connected to the grid.

In areas such as Nylon, Industrial Division in Mbale Municipality, residents wake up as early at 4.30am to line up for water.

In Budaka District, the most affected areas Namuseru, Nakatende, Kakule and Namaja villages. “Most of the residents have stopped drawing water from the nearby wells because they have dried up. This has left many people worried, including the children most of who are responsible for fetching water for their parents,” Mr Arthur Mboizi, the LC5 chairperson, said.

In Pallisa District, health officials said this could cause the outbreak of diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery as locals have started using water from wells and swamps.