WAKISO. The United Nations (UN) in July 2010 endorsed a resolution declaring safe and clean drinking water and sanitation a human right and committed governments to realise the need for clean and safe water.
However, in many rural and peri-urban areas in Uganda, access to clean water is still a distant dream.
For example, in Wakiso District, that neighbours the country’s capital Kampala by a distance of about 20Km, communities’ lives are threatened as a result of increasing intake of unsafe water.
Latest figures indicate that safe water coverage currently stands at 43 per cent, which translates to only 860,000 residents with access to safe and clean water compared to the estimated population of two million people residing in the district.
This means that about 1.14m residents draw water from unprotected sources.
“The situation is appalling and we still have a long way to go as we continue to lobby for funds to improve the lives of our people,” said Mr Luke Lokuda, the Wakiso Chief Administrative Officer.
“In fact, we need to guarantee provision of certain basic needs for our people and clean water is among them,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Ms Safia Nalule, a resident of Nangabo treks a distance of about 5Km to access clean water.
Wakiso is currently pushing for a city status, but the district is still faced with myriad challenges, ranging from poor road network, poor urban planning, especially in Nansana Municipality, poor health services and dilapidated public schools.
Low funding especially at district level has been partly blamed for the slow extension of clean water in rural Uganda.
“While we think about developing the country, Wakiso District should be the priority district. Its development will ease the pressure on Kampala city,” Mr Lokuda said.
Wakiso District director of water services, Eng Isaac Galabuzi is optimistic that provision of water will improve with time.
“It is true our population is rapidly growing and it would take us some good years to extend clean and safe water to all residents, but we are determined to achieve our goal,” he says.
As the Financial Year comes to close, the district has so far drilled 20 boreholes, two motorised wells, 30 hand dug wells, rehabilitated 16 boreholes, designed two rural growth centres piped water supply systems and 269 water sources tested.
To avert the problem, a project named solar powered water technology that will cost Shs1b has already kicked off in sub-counties of Wakiso and Masuulita, according to Eng Galabuzi.