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Public Schools Want Tanks for Water Harvesting

Different donors have come out to support the schools with the implementation of the SOP's through donating COVID-19 prevention materials like liquid soap, COVID-19 messages for displaying on the compound, hand washing drums but no intervention on water supply.
Donated water harvesting tanks at St Kizito Primary School, Bwaise

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Government aided schools have requested government to provide them with water tanks that can help them harvest rain water. 

 

Since the reopening of schools for candidate classes in October 2020, public schools have been lamenting the minimal funding they have that cannot enable them pay off the utility bills which they say are accumulating even with a few learners that are now in school.   

Schools were reopened with strict guidelines concerning the observing of SOPs following the COVID 19 pandemic that led to the long closure of schools for almost seven months.  

Among the SOP's was putting of hand washing points that required schools to have several hand washing corners to enable the learners to wash their hands at any point in time .In all the SOP's that were supposed to be observed water is considered to be the major component.    

However, schools note that they have a challenge of water access as the funds they get are not enough for them to support such a key SOP component where each child was estimated to use 40 liters per day on only hand washing. 

They also note that a lot of  rain water is going to waste as they lack capacity to harvest and reserve it for drought season or at any time in need.  

According to the schools different donors have come out to support them with the implementation of the SOP's through donating COVID 19 prevention materials like liquid soap, COVID 19 messages for displaying on the compound, hand washing drums but no intervention on water.   

They indicate that a lot of rain water is being wasted as they have no capacity to harvest it.   

URN was able to speak to different school heads on how they harvest and reserve rain water and what it implies on their water bills.    

According to the school heads they can't limit learners from using the water especially during this COVID-19 period.    

Expedito Kisekka the head teacher St Kizito Primary school says that the school spends over 2.5 million per term on water bills for the 300 pupils they have and yet they have wasted running water during this rainy season.  

Kisekka notes that the school has the capacity to harvest water but it lacks tanks as currently they have very small tanks that can't absorb all the water that can be harvested from the school roofs.  

He notes that with the minimal harvest tanks they have it makes it difficult for them to manage the school on harvested water only not even in this rainy season. He adds that a 100,000 litres water tank can serve one month in a normal term with the school population of 300 pupils both day and boarding.  

//cue in; “Even if you …

Cue out…Not be enough “//  

He noted that a day child is estimated to be using 40litres per day on washing hands alone and when it comes to the boarding scholars the amount of water used doubles.  

//cue in;” All we are …

Cue out…A very big “//  

Gertrude Nakatunda the head teacher Kalinabiri primary school says the school has tanks to harvest rain water but they are not enough to provide them with sufficient water and also in bad shape that calls for replacement. 

She indicated that the school spends over 700000shs per month on water and yet the funds they have are so little as they operate on one class of the primary seven candidates.

She says that the school has a capacity to accommodate like four tanks of 10,000litres, and at least five tanks for 5000litres in harvesting the rain water.  

Nakatunda explains that on a normal school calendar the school has a big population of over 1000 learners with over 120 teaching and non-teaching which all depend on the school resources on normal schools calendar.

  Meanwhile Joseph Okedi of St Peters Nsambya says that their major worry is when schools fully reopen as metered water is expensive to maintain for the school of over 3600 pupils.   

//cue in; “We need water …

Cue out …On the same water “//  

He says that as public-managed schools they want to get assistance by providing water tanks noting that the 1.5 million that was provided to work on the SOP's was not enough to cover the water bills.

He says that children use much water and this era of COVID 19 they cannot limit them on using it for hygiene purposes hence pleading that government provides them tanks for water harvesting.  

//cue in; “And you know …

Cue out…At St Peters “//  

For Kalinabiri secondary school one school administrator says that the school has managed to run for almost a term on harvested water as the national water has had challenges for over two months now not accessible.  

The source says that the school has tanks in which they harvest water that can be used by the small number of the candidates but worried about the return of all the learners.    

According to the same source the school has 200 candidates using five tanks to harvest water in this rainy season.  

Meanwhile the Director Education and Social services KCCA Juliet Namuddu explains that as government they have managed to ensure that public schools maintain the hygiene and sanitation during this period of  COVID 19 pandemic . 

She indicates that before reopening all schools were provided with 1.5 million to put in place the required SOP's that included procuring hand washing stands, soap temperature guns and water provision.

She however, noted that for the water tanks that can be used by schools to harvest rain water especially during this rainy season government has been working with partners and some few schools have got these tanks though not enough.

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