New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Water Is Life, Save It

It is a known fact, 'water is life!' and must therefore be wellutilised. As we get together to enjoy the festive season, there are some measures we can employ to save water.

Sighting some countries Ephraim Wainaina, managing director of Davis & Shirtliff, says we should be very economical with how we use water.

For example in the Arab Emirates, every drop is harvested, even water that drips from the air conditioners, he says. In the United Kingdom, water is recycled about eight times, he says.

But in Uganda, there seems to be a laxity in water conservation as it is easily accessible, although the best practice that will lead to lowering of water bills is to harvest rain water and recycle it, recommends Wainaina.

Matovu Mbagatuzinde a sales engineer with the same company also says water conservation is something possible and will greatly ensure continuous water supply. He recommends those with tanks to practice water harvesting. He cautions that they should be mindful of its cleanliness by treating it.

"When water is collected, it comes with some particles in the air-dust, from the roof and organic particles like fallen leaves that decompose with time. Others include organisms which are micro, that cannot be seen and macro which can be seen.

The macro takes the form of earth worms and germs. Because of such impurities, harvested water requires disinfection and treatment," explains Mbagatuzinde.

He recommends adding chlorine to it so that it forms a weak acid. The acid kills the organisms and thus making the water safe for use, if the sediments are skimmed off.

In case you get water from a source that is not pre-treated for example river or lake, with a high composition of dissolved solids, you subject it to treatment like you would with harvested rain water.

To rid the water of dirt particles by sedimentation, one needs a tank with a cornical shape or an opening at the lower end such that one can be able to eliminate particles from the treated water. And if one is to harvest rain water, during the rainy season, you can drain the tank every month.

However, if the water it is polluted, add flocculants to it that will sediment dissolved particles. Then, open the lower end of the tank, to let off the sediments and thus stay with clean water.

However, Mbagatuzinde warns that not every tank can have chlorine added to it. The recommended ones are fibre-plastic or stainless steel. This is because chlorine can cause a corrosion effect, rust up the tank and thus leads to breakage.

You may also use catridge filtration to clean water. Use an a assortment of filters to get out sediments, in different pore sizes. The lower the pore size the more particles will be removed. The filters range between 0.5 to 25microns.

Recycling water, is another way of making sure you have water flowing in the home. It comes in handy especially when water is scarce during the dry season. Mbagatuzinde says you can recycle sink and laundry water.

This can be done with effluent treatments. This water is often used to wash cars, clean the floor, washing and bathing. But those intending to travel upcountry where availability of safe drinking water may be scarce, Mbagatuzinde says a water purifier is the best buy for the whole family.

A purifier allows one to have clean drinking water full of minerals at the opening of the tap.

National Water and Sewerage Corporation gives the following water savings tips:

Check every faucet for leaks. Just a slow drip can waste 15 - 20 gallons a day.

Make sure your faucets and standpipes are turned off immediately after use.

Report any leaks you see in the streets as soon as possible.

Don't shower too long or over fill the tub when bathing.

Remember not to leave the water running for tooth brushing, hand washing, vegetable cleaning or dish washing.

Use only what is required and turn off.

Don't use the toilet as a trashcan to flush away tissues, papers etc. every flush uses 2-3 jerry cans of water.

If you are washing a car, use a bucket and not a horse pipe.

Contact your area managers if not satisfied with services received.

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