Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) has significantly dealt with the challenge of flooding in the City.
A year ago, Kampala was experiencing floods at certain black spots that made navigation at those points impossible to go past for several hours after a downpour.
These locations included; Clock Tower on Entebbe Road that often covered the Fire Brigade headquarters parking; Mulwana Road in Bugoloobi Parish; at the Electoral Commission head office on Jinja Road; and the Bwaise communities in Kawempe Division. The floods disrupted navigation in the city, damaged both business and household property as well as affecting livelihoods in vulnerable communities.
KCCA embarked on an aggressive drainage infrastructure development programme in line with the Kampala Drainage Master Plan (KDMP) and the Kampala Capital City Strategic Plan 2020/2021-2024/2025 whose strategic goal is that “by June 2025 Kampala will be an inclusive, liveable, resilient and well planned city that provides economic opportunities to all”. The strategic plan is anchored on four pillars; Economic growth, governance and citizen engagement, quality of life and city resilience.
Some of the projects done or in progress include the construction of the Lubigi and Nakamiro channels with a combined stretch of 5.88Km at Shs82.7B launched in August 2020 by President Museveni. The two channels will solve the flood water menace in the low lying areas of Bwaise, stretching into Kawala in Rubaga Division.
The Clock Tower area and Mulwana Road flooding has been significantly dealt with by downstream interventions on Nakivubo Channel in the Kanyogoga swamp catchment area in Makindye and Nakawa divisions.
Here KCCA is desilting and widening the channel by removing gravel and other sediments that affect the breadth, depth and flow of water. The box culvert constructed on Mulwana Road plus widening and constructing the open drain that feeds into Nakivubo channel is already proving that the area shall be floodless when works are completed. The drainage works under the Kampala Flyover Project are to further solve the stagnation challenge at Clock Tower.
Other drainage improvement works including construction of St Dennis Channel that flows through Kulekana and Nakinyuguzi Channel in Salaama Parish, both in Makindye Division. In Central Division, KCCA is working on Kitamanya’agamba drain (below the Law Development Centre) in Kagugube Parish. In Rubaga Division, Nabulagala Channel and the box culvert along Sentema Road have been constructed, hence mitigating the flooding incidences.
Also in Rubaga Division, interim interventions on sections of Nalukolongo Primary Channel are ahead of the planned reconstruction once funds are obtained for both the channel works and remaining compensation of persons.
One of the key challenges affecting the efficiency of drainage channels is garbage. There is a lot of irresponsible dumping of garbage (polythene, plastic bottles and trade refuse) that ends up blocking the drainage system once it is swept away by surface water run-off or when dumped in the channels causing surface runoff build up and stagnation (floods). Whereas KCCA has emergency teams at the drainage channels during the rain, we appeal to the public to responsibly manage waste.
Another challenge is the illegal developments and encroachments on drainage reserves of primary and secondary channels. Some developers have constructed over the drains while others have illegally diverted the course of drainage channels. Consequently, the capacity of these drains has decreased and maintenance affected resulting in flooding as seen in Bugolobi, Nalukolongo Kamwokya, and Kansanga areas.
The KDMP was developed to improve the old, dilapidated and inefficient existing drainage systems. It recommends both structural and non-structural measures.
Sorting out Kampala’s drainage challenges may not be a fortnight or season’s work but great strides have been taken for one to confidently note that the floods are no more in Kampala, save for the temporal stagnation that usually clears within 10 to 15 minutes after a heavy downpour.
NuweAbine is KCCA acting head public and corporate affairs. email@example.com