15 March 2018

Uganda: Shs2b Water Project Fails to Quench Residents' Thirst

Mbarara — Leaders and residents of Bubaare Sub-county, Kashari South constituency in Mbarara District are angry with the Ministry of Water and Environment for extending to the community a dysfunctional water scheme.

The Shs2.4b Bubare-Kashaka water scheme was handed over to the community on December 5 last year. However, the taps have largely been dry.

According to the project design, the two reservoirs of Nyabugando and Kyikembe were supposed to provide 529.9 cubic metres of water per day.

Currently they supply only 9.4 cubic metres, far below the daily water demand for the target population.

The scheme is supposed to benefit 10,580 people including household, commercial and institutional population. After completion, National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) was supposed to take over the facility to manage water supply.

However, the Kashaka area manager, Mr Robert Katongore says the facility has no water.

"The contractor did his part because when you look at the facility, the offices are good, taps were allocated and the pumps are there but there is no water yet people only want water," says Mr Katongore.

Mr Julius Mwebaze, a resident, describes the water project as 'fake.'

"We are suffering at the hands of technical people. Government knows they gave us water which is not the case. The Ministry of Water and Environment handed over a substandard water project to the people of Kashari. This project is completely fake and we want our leaders to play their roles so that we get the service we deserve," says Mr Mwebaze.

The State minister for Economic Monitoring, Dr Kasirivu Atwooki Kyamanywa, while touring government projects and programmes in Mbarara recently, observed that the ministry handed over a poorly executed water project to the community.

"So many areas which were supposed to be served are not getting water. I am told they are even rationing; they pump for six hours and block some lines so that other areas can also get water. That means there was a problem with the design of that water project," said Mr Kyamanywa.

Way forward

Mr Kyamanywa said he would write a report to the ministry so that they can take corrective measures.

"The essence was to provide clean water to the people. Government invested Shs2.4 billion and the project does not meet the expectations. That's really very absurd because residents still fetch water from the swamps," he said.

The Mbarara Resident District Commissioner, Capt Martha Asiimwe, said technocrats are sabotaging government programmes.

"How can you ask for money to connect water when there is no water source in the area; the ministry of Water should admit that there is no value for money," she said.

The manager for South-Western Water and Sanitation Development Facility (under Ministry of Water and Environment), Mr Enoch Mwanje, said the challenge with the project is change in water level and that they are looking for a solution.

"We are faced with a challenge of water level alteration at the source but we are working hard to fix it; we are looking for another source," Mr Mwanje said.

The district chairperson, Capt Tumusiime Bamuturaki, on Tuesday revealed that the ministry has accepted to repeat the drilling exercise since there was not enough water in the ground drilled earlier.

"We established there was no enough water underground. But the ministry is repeating the drilling exercise in other places to make sure that people get water," he said.

The ministry awarded a contract of Shs2, 68,552,828 on December 17 2015 to M/s Vida Engineering Services Company Limited to construct Kashaka- Bubare Rural Growth Centre (RGC) piped water supply and sanitation scheme.

The scheme

The project was funded by the European Union and government of Uganda.

The scheme was intended to provide 529.9 cubic metres of water per day from two sources of Nshozi borehole with a yield of 5.2 cubic metres per hour and Kashaka Borehole with a yield of 8.2 cubic metres per hour.

It was designed to serve 10,580 people from 500 households and 25 institutions, and also supply 10 public water kiosks.

Other stalled projects

In May last year, Daily Monitor established that a multi-billion water project constructed two years ago to extend safe and clean water to the three sub- counties of Kaliiro, Kashagama and Kinuuka in Lyantonde District has failed to serve its intended use. Some water kiosks constructed in different sub-counties as some had been turned into shelter for stray goats and dogs. Clean water. Although pipes were laid around the targeted areas, residents said accessing clean water was still a distant dream.

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