Minister Oryem rehabilitates dams in Kitgum

He ays his people are sharing water sources with animals, a practice he fears is prone to causing diarrhea complications for local people.

By Christopher Nyeko

Kitgum: The minister of state for international relations,Oryem Henry Okello, has undertaken a proactive move to address the acute water shortages facing the local people in the greater sub-counties of Mucwini, Namokora, and Orom, all in Chau East Constituency Kitgum district.

Chau East has for decades been battling with water shortages, especially during the dry season. This is due to its geographical location, situated in a semi-arid area, coupled with human practices that have led to massive destruction of vegetative cover, hence affecting the rainfall patterns of the local area.

Local leaders say the area has for decades been receiving low amounts of rainfall during the rainy season; thus, the situation has negatively impacted the livelihood of the people, who are mainly subsistence mixed farmers.

During the exclusive interview with this publication on Friday, the minister, Oryem, described the situation as catastrophic.

In a bid to respond to the situation, the minister says he was propelled to seek government intervention through the Ministry of Water and Environment as well as to lobby for support from partners like the United Arab Emirates to rehabilitate seasonal dams in Chau to address the problems of water shortages.

The minister says he has initiated the water project aimed at rehabilitating numerous seasonal dams by turning some into modern dams that would contain adequate water in all seasons to enable inhabitants to practice climate-smart agriculture, drinking for livestock, and fishing, hence improving the economic and social status of the local people.

Last week, a team of specialists from the Ministry of Water and Environment conducted feasibility studies on many of the seasonal dams marked for rehabilitation.

The dams visited include Wang Pa Lupira in Omiya Anyima West, Wang Gali in Omiya Anyima sub-county, Wang Kwogo and Dog Dam all in Namokora town council, Orabul and Lumaruk all in Namokora sub-county, Ogwapoke in Mucwin, and Kabuku tum in Kiteny sub-county.

Minister Oryem says the findings will therefore guide the course of his action; however, he assured that after the feasibility study, assessment, evaluation, and costing are completed, the work shall commence in other dams that need minimal resources; for instance, the commonest work, like desilting, must be done before rain resumes.

Arwai Christopher Obol, the Kitgum district LCV chairperson, admits that his district is hit with acute shortages, revealing that both animals and humans who used to rely on seasonal spring wells, swamps, and rivers are reportedly trekking the extra mile looking for water since their sources have dried.

He hopes the project, when completed, will help people practice climate-smart agriculture. The project design also included aspects of small-scale irrigation and greening.

Opyet Geoffrey, the Namokora sub-county LC3 Chairperson, says his people are sharing water sources with animals, a practice he fears is prone to causing diarrhea complications for local people.

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