Uganda: Water Shortage Hits Mbale As Floods Destroy Pipelines

27 November 2019

An acute water shortage has hit Mbale Municipality for the past three days following floods, which damaged the National Water and Sewage Cooperation (NWSC) water pipelines.

Mr Solomon Efearael, the plant superintendent of NWSC in Mbale, confirmed to Daily Monitor on Monday that there was no water supply to the area.

"The downpour destroyed water pipes in four different water intakes that is why we do not have water supply," he said.

"When it rained, water came with a lot of force and destroyed the pipeline system because locals have encroached on the river banks," Mr Efearael added.

He, however, said they are working to stabilise the pipeline network so that the residents can have access to water.

The floods, which were triggered by rain in Bugisu Sub-region also destroyed crops and displaced residents settling on the stretch of River Nabuyonga in Busamaga Ward, Mbale Town.

The floods also damaged Busamage bridge and a sections of roads, including Mbale-Nkokonjeru, Bugema-Busano and Mbale-Bufumbo. It also affected Livingstone International University and Mbale Resort Hotel.

The eastern NWSC public relations officer, Ms Doreen Kapsulel, said most of the affected areas facing water crisis include Namatala, Namakwekwe, Nkoma, Nauyo-Bugema, Maluku and Indian quarters, among others.

"The engineers have embarked on works to repair the pipeline," she said.

Residents and food vendors operating in Mbale Town have since been forced to trek long distances to the wells to fetch water for domestic and commercial purposes.

Mr Moses Mwambu, a resident of Busamaga Ward, said they are now fetching water from unsafe sources. "The situation at the moment is not good. We have to fetch water from the streams," he said.

Mr Yasin Magomu, another resident, expressed fear of an outbreak of cholera. "With this scarcity of clean water, anything is possible including the outbreak of cholera," he said.

Ms Amina Nandudu, who operates a food kiosk at Mbale Central Market, advised NWSC to speed up the process of repairing the pipeline.

"We are buying a jerrycan of water at Shs500, which is a lot of money and if we continue operating like this, we will be forced to close our businesses," she said.

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