City residents have a reason to smile as Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has earmarked three drainage channels for construction to mitigate perennial flooding.
The three drainage channels include; Lubigi and Nakamiro in Kawempe Division, and Nalukolongo in Rubaga Division.
Unlike Lubigi and Nalukolongo which are primary channels, Nakamiro is a secondary channel that discharges into Lubigi.
If the construction works start as per KCCA’s plan, those who reside around these areas will be relieved after several years of grappling with the inconvenience of flooding.
Mr Brian Baagala, the KCCA’s manager in-charge of drainage told Daily Monitor that the construction of Lubigi, Nakamiro and Nalukolongo drainage channels will be financed by the Government of Uganda and the World Bank.
“Designs were made but we are still waiting for reports made by the chief government valuer so that affected persons can be compensated before construction works start,” Mr Bagaala said.
He did not offer details on when the Chief Government Valuer could release a report but he said it could be in two months’ time. Procurement, he said, is in final stages.
The drainage construction works, Mr Bagaala noted, is implemented by KCCA under the Second Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2).
The five-year $183.7m (Shs684b)project which commenced in 2015 is funded by the World Bank and the government of Uganda and is being implemented by KCCA. The KIIDP-2 project among others involves construction of city roads to improve urban mobility, and widening of drainage channels to reduce flooding.
However, he explained that it is the compensation details of the affected persons that reside near Lubigi and Nakamiro that are currently being reviewed, saying that those of Nalukolongo are yet to submit theirs for consideration.
According to the plan, the second phase of Lubigi channel, which measures 2.5km, stretches from Bwaise to Hoima Road. It will be expanded and lined with concrete from Bwaise to Kawaala using already acquired drainage corridor of roughly 40 meters. The channel will thereafter be widened to about 100 meters to Hoima Road.
The first phase of Lubigi channel was constructed by Spencon Services with the aim of preventing flooding in Bwaise, Kawempe division but it is constantly clogged with silt, polythene which causes backflow of water.
Lubigi channel constitutes of 12.55km of the main channel and over 20km of the secondary channels spreading through Nakawa, Kawempe, Central and Lubaga divisions.
Lubigi forms an irregular semi-circle around the city, starting at around Kisaasi to the North, stretching Westwards, passing through Bwaise and Kawaala, then stretching southwards through Busega totaling to about 42km.
The swamp has feeder arms that stretch along the Kampala–Mityana Road towards Buloba, along Kampala–Masaka Road towards Kyengera, along Kampala-Hoima Road towards Nansana and along Sentema Road that stretches from Mengo to Sentema.
The Kampala Northern Bypass Highway is built within the Lubigi wetland for more than half of its length. While the Bwaise slum is entirely built within the Lubigi wetland.
Mr Bagaala also said that Nakamiro channel, which measures 3.2 km, will be expanded and lined with concrete from Kazo Angola to Lubigi, adding that it will have an average width of 7 metres with provisions for pedestrians to cross the channel safely.
“However, due to limited resources the planned construction of secondary channels that discharge into Lubigi like Katanga, Nsooba, Kiyanja, Kawaala, Kiwunya just to mention but a few was not possible, which has aggravated the siltation of Lubigi,” he said.
Mr Bagaala also revealed that the design, Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and resettlement plan of Nalukolongo channel are being reviewed. According to the construction plan, the channel, which is estimated to be 30 meters by width and a length of 7km long, starts from Kibuye and ends at Busega.The drainage channels have been designed to last for over 25 years.
The construction of these three channels is part of the updated 2017 drainage master plan.
According to KCCA, the objective of updating the 2003 drainage master plan was to develop a new implementation programme for storm water drainage that reflects the current socio-economic and drainage challenges.
Other objectives of the plan are to integrate natural environment, system drainage, infrastructure development control issues and overall planning issues into a cohesive city-wide strategy for drainage development that minimizes the impacts of flooding.
Whenever the heavens open, Kampala City grounds to a halt as a result of flooding. The water volumes increase, turning a small stream of water into flash floods that sweep everything in its path downstream, causing disruptions and destruction. Several city shops close, the traffic gridlock intensifies, houses especially in the city slums are washed away, others are submerged in water and sometimes lives are lost as a result of drowning.
Kampala’s drainage is mainly through eight primary channels. These include: Lubigi, Nakivubo, Kinawataka, Nalukolongo, Kansanga and Ggaba, Mayanja/Kaliddubi, Nakelere/Nalubaga, and Walufumbe and Mayanja North. These are served by numerous secondary and tertiary systems.
However, Mr Bagaala said that due to financial constraints, KCCA prioritises few channels at a time which have a big bearing on residents due to financial constraints.
But Mr Bagaala said that to fully mitigate flooding in the city, they need a least a budget of about Shs160b annually, saying that “if we get this budget for five consecutive years, then flooding can be fully contained”.
However, even when KCCA is grappling with funding challenges, their budget for 2019/20 has been slashed by Shs95b.
Kampala Minister Beti Olive Kamya acknowledged the fact that KCCA’s budget is small but she said that she has since briefed the President about the matter.
“Most of the drainage channels have not been constructed because of shortage of funding but we are hopeful that our next budget will be increased to enable us serve city dwellers, “she said.
Currently, many factories and houses have been built in wetlands despite the existing law. But authorities at times just look on because some developers wield much influence and are well connected.
The illegal structures block drainage channels, make flooding inevitable.
During the survey to update the 2017 drainage master plan, it was found out that human waste account for 39 per cent of the material dumped in drainage channels while Liquid waste account for 28 per cent. And Kaveera account for 24 per cent while plastics account for 5 per cent.
Asked about how KCCA intends to weed out encroachers on catchment areas or block drainage channels, Mr Bagaala said they have tightened the noose on them and prosecuted some.
Flood-prone areas in the city include Queen’s Way, Ssebaana Kizito Road (Former Nakivubo Mews), Kabuusu junction, Jinja Road roundabout and Kyambogo-Banda, among others.
According to the drainage master plan, KCCA seeks to control water storm source by putting more emphasis on, among others, rain water harvesting, permeable surfaces to enable runoff water, rain gardens, green parks and open gardens, detention ponds, retention basins and associated wetlands.