29 March 2016

Uganda: Gulu Water Crisis Worsens as Dam Dries Up

Gulu — Water crisis in Gulu has worsened amidst the prolonged dry spell in the district that has seen a drastic reduction in the water levels at Oyitino Dam, located in Patiko Sub-county, which supplies Gulu Municipality.

Since the beginning of last week, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NW&SC) embarked on rationing water for its 139,000 clients connected on the water grid due to its incapacity to supply water normally.

According to district water officials, the level of water has reduced by nearly 4.7 metres at the banks of the dam and five metres in the middle of the dam.

The NW&SC management, in a statement issued yesterday, confirmed the water crisis in Gulu Municipality and blamed it on the prolonged dry spell. "This is an extreme weather event. The prolonged severe drought has starved Oyitino Dam of rainfall. Whereas Gulu suffers decline in water supply during the dry season, the dam has never dried up in all the 23 years of NW&SC operations in Gulu," the statement issued by Mr Samuel Apedel, the NW&SC public relations manager, said.

A visit by our reporter to the dam revealed low water levels, with dead fish being removed from the muddy water by officials from the corporation.

Mr Paul Rackara, the NW&SC Gulu branch manager, told Daily Monitor in a telephone interview on Monday that the prolonged drought is the first of its kind in the region in their 23 years of operation in the district.

"We had expected rain by mid this month as predicted by weather experts but this has not happened. This is a true manifestation of global warming and this has greatly affected our supply," Mr Rackara said.

He said water supply has dropped significantly from 2.3 million cubic litres of water to hardly 1.5 cubic litres in just a week as opposed to 4.8 litres that NW&SC had been supplying its client during the rain y season.

"All our clients have been affected by this drought, we are now rationing water so that a few can get but not all people will definitely get the water," Mr Rackara said.

He, however, added that residents should not panic since they are working to ensure that they supply residents with the little water left as they wait for the rainfall.

In most parts of the municipality, residents could be seen queuing at most of the boreholes and wells in search of water as taps remains dry. Ms Alice Atto, a resident of Kasubi Goans Quarters in Bardege Division, said: "I woke up at 6am to search for water but up to now (press time), I have not got water because most of the water points are congested,"

Areas greatly affected include Pece Division, Bardege Division and Laroo Division and parts of Layibi Division.

According to the weather report released by Uganda National Meteorological Authority early this month, Gulu District recorded the highest temperature in the country in February at 35.8 degrees centigrade.

Weather experts, however, had predicted that Gulu District, among other northern Ugandan districts currently experiencing dry spells, will endure the spell until mid-March this year where the rainy season is expected.


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