NAKASONGOLA: District leaders from Nakasongola want government to invest in a Bulk Water Project to save locals from the ailing effects caused by prolonged drought.
The campaign championed by Sam Kigula the district LC 5 Chairperson with support from area members of Parliament is aimed at erecting huge water reservoirs at a high peak rocky Sungira Hill located at the center of the district.
The project is estimated to cost about Shs 50 billion.
“Given that Nakasongola is generally flat, this project will have water supplied by gravity across the district and to our neighbours in Luwero and Nakaseke,” Kigula said.
Situated about 110km North of Kampala, Nakasongola district is one of the areas in the cattle corridor that have been hard hit by drought.
Cattle keepers trek long distances in search of water, while several farmers have registered heavy losses both in plant and animals that have died under the scorching sun.
“All valley dams have dried up including the boreholes where people could access clean water, we need a long lasting solution,” said Kigula.
The district is surrounded by fresh water sources such as Lake Kyoga in the West as well as River Kafu and Mayanja in the North and South respectively. There is also Lugogo Water stream which are all distant from the larger population but would be well utilized through a centralized water project.
“Our people have been forced to abandon their farmlands and seek refuge near the lake showers,” said Margaret Komuhangi, NRM Nakasongola Woman MP.
Komuhangi told Daily Monitor that although the district has secured two water trucks, the demand remains high creating room for private trucks which charge exorbitant fees.
“A truck costs between shs400,000 to shs500,000 which is so expensive to our ordinary farmers,” said Komuhangi.
Most affected areas include Namansa, Nakitoma and Wabinyonyi which are far from the water sources while those nearer to lake Kyoga such as Ninga, Kyalusaka , Kalungi as well as Kalongo, Lwabyata, Mwone and Nabisweera cannot access the water because of a water hyacinth.
Nakasongola County MP Noah Mutebi Wanzala Wanzala asked locals to desist from acts of deforestation characterized with heinous charcoal burning.
The lawmaker also wants residents to undertake massive tree planting to help reduce water loss.
Matia Kasaija the minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development said that government was equally concerned and efforts had been undertaken to solve the problem.
The minister revealed that government had partnered with Japan to provide a complete set of road unit to every district starting February.
“I am optimistic that things will change… by the end of this month the first batch of equipment will be in the country,” said Kasaija
A complete set according to the minister will comprise a low loader, an excavator, a water bowser and a grader which will aid the construction of valley dams, boreholes and road maintenance.
Kasaija said that the equipment were supposed to have been delivered starting December 2016 but blamed the delay on bureaucratic bottlenecks.
“They are supposed to be brought in four installments but we have lost a month, implying that we shall start end of February and the last consignment will be in the country around April this year but I am quite certain that all districts will have their equipment before June,” Kasaija said.
When delivered all district headquarters will have their own equipment separate from those to be given to the Ministry of Works.
Government will also establish regional base units with a separate set to reinforce district demands.
Lawmakers from the district are however concerned that the projected period of delivery will be a rainy season and the equipment may not serve the purpose.
“This is an emergency and we need quick solutions, we need more water bowsers in the district to help refill existing valley dams which are now dry,” Komuhangi said.
One of the bowsers was issued by Sam Cheptoris the Minister of Water and Environment while the second one was obtained from police on the instructions of Gen Kale Kaihura, the Inspector general of Police.