Uganda: Butebo Residents Decry Lack of Access to Clean, Safe Water

Residents and local leaders in Butebo District in Bukedi Sub-region have raised concerns about shortage of clean and safe water in their localities.

They now attribute the continuous outbreak of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid, and dysentery to the continuous water shortages in the area.

The most affected sub-counties are Butebo, Kakoro, and Kabwangasi.

Particularly in the aforementioned sub-counties, the boreholes that were drilled four years ago, have since broken down, leaving the locals with no option but to trek long distances to fetch water from neighbouring sources.

Mr Jackson Okello, a resident of Kachulu Village in Butebo Sub-county, on Tuesday said the lack of clean water has persisted for long but government has paid a deaf ear to their cries.

"Lack of water for drinking is the biggest challenge that we face in this area. It has been on for years but there is no hope since we have sought intervention but no response at all," he lamented.

Mr Okello said the only borehole where they used to fetch water for drinking broke down two years ago and since then, they have been fetching water from dirty streams.

Ms Betty Opio, another resident, said it is unfortunate that government and other development partners have not intervened despite repeated reminders to them. "Whenever we have a meeting, we inform our leaders of our plight but I think they just jot down our concerns in note books and forget about them," she said.

The Petete Sub-county chairperson, Mr Kenneth Kintu, said in his area and other villages, including Bamesula and Jami-Jami in Kapunyasi Parish, residents trek six kilometres to fetch water for drinking.

Likewise, Mr Kintu said the four others villages of Kachabali, Bunamwera, Kiryolo, and Kabuyayi are also facing related challenges because the boreholes that they used to rely for clean water, have since also broken down.

The district councillor representing Butebo Sub-county, Mr Gabriel Enyaru, said if there are no immediate interventions, more people in the area will continue to die as a result of waterborne diseases.

"The water coverage is rather low in the district but we shall continue pushing government to intervene. The number of functioning boreholes are few compared to the population," Mr Enyaru said.

Butebo District has a total of 14 sub-counties and more than 200,000 people.

Inadequate funding

The Butebo District chairperson, Mr Sam Keddi, acknowledged the challenge but said only about 32 per cent of the population is still drinking unsafe water from unprotected springs.

"This has remained the biggest challenge to the district because of inadequate funding to the sector," he said.

The district water officer, Mr Lancy Gadala, however, said vandalisation of water sources by some people in the community have worsened the issue of the water shortage in the district.

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