Landslides break pipes, cause water shortage in 3 districts

Monday June 07 2021
reg003 pix

Locals clean an underground water reservoir that had been filled with soil following a down pour in Namisindwa District at the weekend. YAHUDU KITUNZI

By Yahudu Kitunzi

A severe water crisis has hit Namisindwa, Manafwa and parts of Tororo District following multiple landslides that broke the water pipe system at Soono Water Treatment Plant in Namisindwa.
The landslides triggered by rains at the weekend swept away the structures and water pipes of National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).

Mr Fred Businge, the NWSC area manager for Tororo, said the landslides have dealt a big blow to the water supply.
“The rains have caused massive landslides. The running water washed away majority of the water infrastructures including pipes and production plants,’’ Mr Businge said.
“Our technical team are on ground trying to ensure that we restore the water connection,’’ he added.

Mr Businge said soils have been exposed to running water due to increased farming uphill. 
He said several bridges were also washed away.
“But in order to prevent more landslides, the NWSC has embarked on tree planting in the slopes of the mountain,” the NWSC official said.

Ms Sarah Namono, a resident, said they cannot access safe and clean water since the landslides occurred.  
“We appeal to the NWSC to speed up the process of repairing the water system,” she said.
Ms Namono also attributed the continuous occurrence of landslides to poor agricultural practices on the slopes of Mt Elgon.

Mr Jimmy Wabuloko, a resident, said: “The cost of buying water has increased and it has affected us. I have fears that there will be an outbreak of water borne diseases if the water pipes are not repaired because people are  using dirty water for domestic purposes .’’ 
Mr Emma Bwayo, the Namisindwa male youth councillor, said the most affected sub -counties are Namabya, Bupoto and Bukhaweka.

Ms Halima Mukhwana, the NWSC branch manager for Manafwa, said there is also rampant vandalism and theft of metallic pipes by the community members.
“There is theft of water pipes, fitting and installation equipment. These pipes are too expensive. Residents must work closely with our officials to stop the vice,’’ Ms Mukhwana said. 

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Effect
Landslides can dump millions of tonnes of muddy debris in Uganda’s rivers and streams. Such debris can dam rivers, flood surrounding areas and cause damage to infrastructure.
Although Uganda has experienced loss of life due to landslides, the number of casualties have increased this century.

Over the past 25 years, catastrophic landslides have regularly hit the foothills of Mt Elgon. The region’s most devastating landslide swept the slopes in 2010. Although more than 300 people are thought to have perished, only about 100 bodies were recovered. Thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.
 

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