Rukungiri — The construction of Kahengye Gravity Water Scheme is far from complete two years after the project commenced.
The Shs44b World Bank and government funded water project kicked off in July 2016 and was undertaken by an Indian firm, Technofab Engineering Services.
It was expected to be completed by September 2017.
The scheme is expected to benefit 120,000 people in Rukungiri and Ntungamo districts.
Rukungiri District Water Officer Deus Atukwase explains that the contractor has outlived his contract period and should start paying damages to government for the delay.
After one year in July 2017, only 35 per cent of the civil works had been done with the contractor asking for more time.
"At first, the contractor had some challenges and government took all the measures to resolve them. We have made all the necessary extensions of contract. The contract has now delayed for more than a year," he says, adding: "However, they promised to have completed work by end of August; that is what we are now working with."
He notes that the recent assessment put the work done at the source (water pump, reservoir and other infrastructure at River Kahengye) at about 65 per cent and less than 40 per cent has been done away from the source.
While land was secured for construction of water treatment and supply tanks at Iterero Catholic Parish in Nyamunuka Town Council and at Kabuhiju in Rwashamaire Town Council, there have not been major developments by the contractor at the sites.
Ms Phionah Natukunda, the councilor representing Nyakagyeme Sub county and Rwerere Town Council in Rukungiri District Council, avers that people are demanding for an explanation from government why this delay.
"It has been years now since they told us they were extending water to Rwerere but we have not even seen anyone trying to excavate a tunnel. We have lost hope, people are saying they may have been duped," she says.
Mr Rwabatongole Rweishe, a resident of Buyanja Sub-county, says the district local government is not even maintaining the existing water sources.
"We have approached the district to have our protected springs maintained but they tell us that water will soon be extended to our area and that they cannot spend more money on other water sources. I think government needs to be responsible in the promises they make," Mr Rwabatongole says.
Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume Kaginda says the delay at the beginning of the project can be excusable but the current snail pace and failures must be explained by the contractor.
But the project engineer, Mr Rodney Ochen, says they have been facing challenges of acquiring land for laying of water pipes.