Water shortage hits Kitgum

Water shortages emerged last week after the battery used for pumping underground water got burned by high electric voltage.

By Christopher Nyeko

Kitgum: Residents of Namokora town council in Kitgum district are hit by an acute water shortage.

Water shortages emerged last week after the battery used for pumping underground water got burned by high electric voltage.

Local leaders say due to water shortages within the town council, several businesses such as restaurants, bricklaying, and booming construction work are now at a standstill. It is also reported that residents are trekking extra miles to water sources such as dams and rivers to fetch water for both domestic and human usage.

Namokora town council has since 2016 been supplied water by the Northern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation, a government entity created under the Ministry of Water purposely to supply a selected urban center in Uganda with clean water for domestic and economic usage.

In 2016, the local leaders of Namokora town council handed over the Northern Umbrella of Water and Sanitation, one of the water projects that was founded by AMREF during the IDP camp.  

However, the local authorities in the Namokora urban center have decried that due to an increased human population within the town council, the Umbrella of Northern Water and Sanitation is now overwhelmed with the high water demand, which is now beyond its capacity.

Arafat Arop, the secretary for work and technical services for Namokora town council, faults the management of Umbrella Water Sanitation over corruption.

Arop disclosed that last year, during site monitoring of the Umbrella site, the local leaders established that the big accumulator with sufficient capacity to pump underground water was found missing; however, the leadership of Northern Umbrella Water and Sanitation failed to give a clear explanation to the local leaders.

He added that the locals have since been complaining about the high cost levied on each unit of water, besides giving them less liters of water in each water unit, citing the example of 1 unit of water, which is supposed to be 1,000 liters according to NWSC standards, but the umbrella is said to be giving only 650 liters of water in each unit of their water, something the locals say is unfair.

Kilama Patrick Sadick, the area councilor V for Namokora town council, told this publication that he has raised the matter with the district council, requesting the district to write to the Ministry of Water so that Namokora town council be shifted to the stewardship of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).

However, Oryem Charles Olweny, the Kitgum district secretary for work and technical services, accused some people who were once trained in water management of turning against the project and reportedly resorting to picking some of the parts of the water generating system for their own gains, blaming members of the community for defaulting on paying the water bill. The money he said could be used by the entities to expand their capacity to give service to the community.

Oryem urges the community to cooperate with any government entities if they want to get better.

Attempts to get a comment from the Ministry of Water and Environment were futile during press time since their communication officer in charge of the Northern region, Ms. Akao Brenda, was in an area with poor communication but instead promised to get back to the reporter when she reached the area with a good network.

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