Uganda: Govt Cuts Water Prices in Buvuma

18 September 2019

Residents of Buvuma Town Council have a reason to smile after government reduced water prices from Shs500 to Shs50 per 20 litre jerrycan.

Local leaders say this has increased the use of clean and safe water in the area.

Ms Mary Namugalu, a resident of Walwanda Cell, Buvuma Town Council, said the high water prices had forced many residents to fetch water from the lake, which poses a health risk to them.

"Even the number of households getting piped water have increased because the general water tariffs have gone down," she said.

The water project was rolled out in the town in 2017, using a Shs2.4b grant from government through the ministry of Water under the Umbrella Water Authorities project.

The project is aimed at enhancing sustainable access to clean and safe water in rural areas.

Of the 26 wards in Buvuma Town Council, piped water has so far been extended to six wards. The wards currently connected to piped water include Kitamiiro, Walwanda, Baliba, Lunyanja, Burere and Galamu.

Mr Sebastian Okwale, the chairperson of Buvuma Town Council, said the acquisition of a solar-powered water pumping system has ensured regular water supply in the area.

"At first, our people received water from rusty metallic pipes once a week, but now they receive clean water during day and night," he said.

Initially, the town was using a generator to pump water, which local leaders say was consuming a lot of fuel.

However, Ms Rachael Tebagalika, a resident of Buwanga Ward, said the safe water has so far benefited a few households, leaving a bigger population still suffering.

Mr Okwale said they have already received assurance from managers of the project to extend the piped water to other areas soon.

Mr Gilbert Byamugisha, the manager of Umbrella Water Authorities in central region, said they will first replace damaged water pipes on Kirongo-Kitamiiro road before extending the water to other wards in the town next month.

Background

Buvuma District comprises 52 islands, eight sub-counties and one town council.

In June 2016, National Water and Sewage Corporation (NWSC) extended piped water in 175 towns, 15,500 villages covering 400 sub-counties in 62 districts.

According to NWSC plan, another 10,609 villages and 7.7 million people will be added to the piped water grid to allow them have access to safe water by next year.

Survey

Statistics. A recent survey Buvuma District authorities revealed that a total of 56,960 (64 per cent) of residents lack access to safe water, while about 55,180 (62 per cent) do not have pit-latrines at their homes.

This situation has exposed many locals to hygiene-related diseases such as cholera, typhoid and dysentery.

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