Residents of Nabukalu Town Council and Nabukalu Sub-county in Bugiri District are all smiles after getting a solar-piped water supply plant.
Constructed in 2016 by the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, the Shs2b plant was commissioned in 2017 to increase accessibility to safe and clean water.
Ms Peruth Nampewo, a resident, said the project has also offered jobs through selling water. Each jerrycan of water costs Shs200.
“The solar-piped water supply has reduced the time and distance mothers take visiting water springs. I am optimistic that challenges of water shortage during dry spells have been solved,” she said.
Ms Rosemary Kinoto, a Village Health Team (VHT) official, said the system supplies water into the maternity ward at Nabukalu Health Centre III.
“Among all health centre IIIs in Bugiri District, only Nabukalu Health Centre III has piped water in its maternity ward; so, it is now healthy to deliver from there because of the availability of water, other than going to Bugiri District Referral Hospital where water and power are sometimes a problem,” she said.
Mr Murushidi Wazabwe, the Nabukalu Sub-county chairperson, said ‘there was no value for money’ since the plant cannot supply water to Nabukalu Trading Centre, which is now a town council.
“During the commissioning of the project, the contractors promised that the plant was meant to supply water beyond Nabukalu Health Centre III, but we have realised that its capacity cannot pump water into the entire town council,” Mr Wazabwe said.
He added: “My hands are tied, my powers are limited and I have nowhere to run to yet locals keep demanding for safe clean water. I reached out to district authorities and the contractors regarding the shortage of water supply in Nabukalu Town Council but all has been in vain.”
Ms Robinah Nabajja, the sub-county female district councillor, however, said the water plant is not well-managed.
“Monthly collections by the caretakers are not being put to use yet they constitute sub-county revenue. Every sub-county household pays Shs2,000 monthly, part of which is supposed to be used for repairs, which I think isn’t the case,” she said.
Ms Fazira Namayinde, a resident, decried the Shs2,000 monthly charges and appealed for a reduction to Shs1,000.
The solar-piped water supply project also enables proper animal grazing, especially during the dry spell.
In Buyende District
In Buyende District, plans are underway to improve access to clean water to at least 21,600 people, including 2,292 children with an aim of enhancing school attendance and performance, especially for girls, who drop out due to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Under the project, 917 households in Buyende District, 459 in Kamuli and 910 in Nebbi are being trained and facilitated with Solvatten Water Purification Kits, courtesy of Plan International Uganda.
Mr Paul Bagula, the Plan International programme coordinator in Kamuli and Buyende districts, said the short-term project is to introduce to the communities to basic safe water and sanitation practices geared towards reduction of water-related diseases.
“As a child-centred organisation, we premised our intervention on the safety of children and injected Shs138m to introduce the new technology solar-powered Solvatten Water Purification kits with a call for increased investment on WASH activities,” Mr Bagula said.
Mr Anthony Olweny, the community development facilitator, said their goal is to create awareness, assist in cultivating the culture of hygiene of the kits, water sources and water containers.