Residents of Kapokin Village, Kapokin Parish, Atutur Sub-county in Kumi District have rejected a valley dam project, claiming it serves no purpose since they have few cows in their community.
In a meeting held at Okulony Village on Wednesday, the locals told a team from the Ministry of Water and Environment and the Prime Minister’s office that ever since their livestock was depleted in the 1980s, Atutur has no cows to warrant the construction of a valley dam.
Mr James Ochom, a resident of Okulony Village, said they have never expressed interest or written any minutes to the Ministry of Water or the Prime Minister’s office requesting for a valley dam in their parish.
“Each family here has about two to three cows, which we provide water through boreholes, giving us a valley dam is useless, perhaps they should first compensate us for the cattle that we lost,” he told the officials.
“Go and carry out a survey, I don’t think you will see any bigger herds of animals here. If you are committed, first restock our people. For now, that money can be invested in schools, and health facilities,” Mr Ochom added.
Another resident, Mr Simon Etengu, said if government is determined in its drive to construct the valley dam, they should put compensation as priority number one.
Mr Isa Nathan, the LC3 councillor of Kapokin, said they were never consulted.
“Protocol must be followed, in this era where land grabbing has taken various dimensions, we cannot take anything for granted,” he said.
Mr Lawrence Okello, the LC3 chairperson of Atutur Sub-county, condemned what he called selfish political interests.
“People would not have rejected the project if the right protocol was followed,” Mr Okello said.
Efforts by Esther Akadamai, a sociologist at the Ministry of Water and Environment, to explain the importance of the valley dam project fell on deaf ears as community leaders vowed not to allow any earth moving equipment into their area.
At the sidelines of the meeting, Ms Akadamai said the Shs100m valley dam project will focus on reserving 10 million litres of water.
“Government came up with an initiative as a control measure to fight the alarming water crisis that mostly attacks cattle during dry the season but not to take away the community land,” she said.
Ms Akadamai maintained that they will continue to engage the community, by taking them through the benefits of the project.
About a valley dam
A valley dam is a structure or barrier constructed across a valley, river or stream to conserve, store or to control the flow of water. The water may be used for drinking, hydroelectric power generation, irrigation, or environmental conservation.
While the valley dams offer a buffer against variable rainfall, its usefulness still depends on the weather.