City waste killing safe water sources, NWSC warns NEMA

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KAMPALA. National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has asked government to take urgent measures to stop the high rate of waste matter disposal into Lake Victoria to minimise costs of water treatment and improve the quality of water drawn from the fresh water lake.
Speaking at celebrations to mark the International Water Day yesterday, Mr Christopher Ebal, the NWSC board chairman, said despite measures the corporation has adopted to extend its intake pipes deeper into the lake with the hope of drawing cleaner water, the quality of water drawn is continually deteriorating with NWSC incurring more costs in water treatment to make it clean and safe for consumption.

“The work of National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is to ensure that the water going into Lake Victoria is clean and not contaminated; but it is costing us a lot of money to treat water and this is unacceptable,” Mr Ebal said, adding that they will take up the issue with Nema.
Mr Ebal’s response followed concerns raised by the residents of Ggaba landing site, who complained about the alarming rate at which rain water is washing solid waste and pouring effluent into the lake following the degradation of wetlands which previously filtered waste matter in the water that poured into the lake.
“When it rains, the garbage comes direct through the market to the lake, it comes with the bad hygiene from the toilets. I have talked to the Ministry of Works and the [Makindye Division] town clerk and they have failed to respond,” Francis Sabiti Katuramu, the chairman of Ggaba market, in Kampala suburb, said. He said even the swamps that used to filter the water before it ends in the lake, have been demolished.

Mr Robert Kiwagira Sebiina, the chairman of Ggaba Mission, said he previously proposed to Mr John Nasasira, the former minister for Transport and Works, to create drainage channels to redirect rain water into the remaining swamps to reduce the rate of pollution in Lake Victoria but the minister then said there was no money. Mr Sebiina said the situation has since worsened.
Yesterday as the world marked the International Water Day, NWSC joined in the commemoration with its Young Water Professionals and planted trees in the remaining swamp surrounding the Ggaba waterworks.
Mr John Fisher Sekabira, the secretary general of Young Water professionals, said they decided to plant trees around the swamps surrounding the Ggaba waterworks in order to protect it from encroachment because most of the wetland has been destroyed by encroachers.

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