Govt earmarks Shs17b to desilt River Nyamwamba

An excavator desilts River Nyamwamba on Wednesday. PHOTO / ALEX ASHABA

What you need to know:

  • The exercise is an emergency mitigation measure against damage of critical infrastructure and loss of livelihoods whenever the river floods.

The long-awaited plan to desilt River Nyamwamba in Kasese District has been approved and is taking shape.

The government has secured Shs17 billion from the World Bank to desilt 5.4 kilometres of the critical areas of  the river. 

The exercise is an emergency mitigation measure against damage of critical infrastructure and loss of livelihoods whenever the river floods.

Mr Steven Ogwete, an engineer from the Ministry of Water and Environment, said they have awarded the contract to Ambitious Construction Company.  “The river is a long stretch, but we have identified three hotspot areas where the contractor will work in a scope of six months,” he said.

River Nyamwamba and other rivers have for the past 5 years been bursting banks, killing people, displacing hundreds and destroying property.

 The contractor will work on the identified areas of Masule, Kyanjuki, Kyanjuki camp, Namuhuga and Kyonjojo.

The desilting will involve maintenance of earth work, put gabion masonry and establishment of a dyke (a long wall built to prevent flooding).

Dr Callist Tindimugaya, a commissioner of water resource planning and regulation at the Ministry of Water and Environment, said for the last six months, the ministry has been doing restoration work at the river.

“The government secured Shs9 billion funding from the World Bank for restoration work. ln future when floods hit again, they can be contained,’’ he said.

Other interventions

Dr Emmanuel Brian Guma, the team leader at Albertine Water Management Zone, said they are partnering with Natural Resources Defence Initiative (NRDI), World Wide Fund for Nature, and Mubuku Integrated Farmers Association to conserve River Nyamwamba.

The partners are doing river bank restoration, soil water conservation, afforestation, river bank demarcation, and supporting communities with alternative sources of livelihood.

River Nyamwamba stretches through Kasese with a total of 257.2 kilometres. It has been divided into three sections for restoration.

Past incidences

In 2013, Kilembe Mines Hospital was hit by the first wave of floods.

In 2014, the health facility was again closed over flooding.

In 2020, the same facility shut down work after the river burst its banks destroying infrastructure and it was relocated to Kasese Town at St Michael Kindergarten and Daycare Centre.

The back to back floods have also been destroying several bridges.

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