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Kamwenge District Seeks UGX 46Bn to End Water Crisis

According to the Kamwenge district Assistant Water Officer, Michael Byamukama, access to clean water in urban areas is about 70 per cent but in rural areas, some go to as low as 20 per cent.
One of the Kabambiro residents drawing water from a water kiosk by Water for People

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Kamwenge district is seeking 46 Billion Shillings to end the problem of lack of access to clean water. 

According to the Kamwenge district Assistant Water Officer, Michael Byamukama, access to clean water in urban areas is about 70 per cent but in rural areas, some go to as low as 20 per cent. 

He says they carried out a baseline study in 2013 and found that Biguli and Kabambiro Sub Counties were among the most affected areas with access to clean water sources below 20 per cent. 

Byamukama says the problem is due to the low water level in the district, which requires the use of advanced machinery to construct water sources yet they receive 553 Million Shillings from the central government annually for the water sector.

  As a result, most of the residents depend on shallow wells, which normally have contaminated water.    Grace Kunihira, a resident of Biuguli Sub County, says they waste most of their productive time looking for water due to its scarcity.  

  “You find that you have to leave the garden so early to be first at the borehole or else you may not get water. The people that queue at the few boreholes that we have here are so many that it takes a lot of time for someone to get water,” Kunihira says.  

 

Felista Nyambere, a resident of Kabambiro, says the lack of access to clean water sources has for long-time affected children and women, who walk long distances to the boreholes.

Byamukama explains that they have collaborated with Non-Governmental Organizations – NGOs like Water for People to extend water to the neediest areas.    

For instance, in March this year, Water for People embarked on a 7 Billion Shillings project to extend water to Biguli and Kabambiro. This included constructing water kiosks between distances of 1 kilometer and taps that were put at schools and health centres.

  

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The project was commissioned on Friday and, according to the Water for People country director, Cate Nimanya, 13 villages in Biguli now have access to clean water while in Kabambiro, 31 villages have benefited.   

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Engineer Stanley Oketayot, the Water for People engineer, explains that to ensure the water keeps flowing; they have installed solar panels at the reservoir tanks as a source of energy and also put in place backup generators.   

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Engineer Joseph Eyatu, the Acting Director Directorate of Water Development at the Ministry of Water and Environment, says access to clean water is still a problem to about 18,000 villages countrywide. 

He, however, adds that the ministry is working tirelessly to ensure that more money is allocated for the extension of clean water to different parts of the country.