By Derrick B. M uduku
Sharif Kabamba, a resident in Bugujju, a suburb in Mukono wakes up every morning with an extra burden on his mind. He has to go down to the well to fetch water for domestic use. Water which is regarded as a basic need is a pressing challenge in his day-to-day engagements.
Kabamba says that the water from the well is unhealthy.” When it rains, soil is eroded and mixes with the water which makes it dirty and we are at risk of getting diseases. Also, when the trees shed their leaves, the leaves directly fall into the water and this is unsafe,” he said.
Kabamba says that water connected from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) reaches the area but is inaccessible.” The water is expensive. That is why most people resort to the well. Also, many people around the area are still ignorant about how to access National water,” he said.
Kabamba is not the only one struggling to access clean water. According to Water.org, a global nonprofit organization, out of the 45 million people in Uganda, 7 million Ugandans lack access to safe water and 28 million people do not access improved sanitation facilities.
Currently, Mukono has about 11,000 connections of NWSC with one stretch from Paul Mukasa School in Kigunga to Wantone Stage. The other connection stretches up to Mpoma Satellite on Kayunga Road. Also, the areas of Kauga, Nabuuti and Nsuube are connected.
In Mukono, there is the newly established Katosi water treatment plant which operates at 160,000cc and supplies Kampala Metropolitan area of which Mukono is part .
Obillo Ivan Mangeni, the UCU Plumber says that UCU is connected to NWSC water connection.” We have drinkable water and so we opted for National water because it is treated. However, we also measure it again and retreat it so that it is up to the desired standard to be drunk by students,” he said.
Obillo says that UCU has proper water connection.” We used to be connected to Ggaba which was far. But now we are connected to the 3-inch water pipe that passes outside the University. We are blessed with constant flow of water,” he said.
He adds that he is glad that the Katosi water treatment plant was set up saying that it will go a long way in improving water in Mukono and neighboring districts.
Daniel Mugoya, the Branch Manager of NWSC, Mukono says that there are still challenges to be addressed to improve the water situation in Mukono.” We lose a lot of water in leakages and bursts. People do not report these bursts on time and this contaminates the water. There are also self-made challenges like water theft by some irresponsible people in the community,” he said.
Mugoya highlights how the Corporation has endeavored to solve some of the water challenges in Mukono.” We have set up Public Stand Pipes where a jerrycan of water of 20 litres goes for as low as Shs. 25. This was done to make water as cheap as possible for everyone,” he said.
He says that 15 Covid tanks were set up around Mukono with the emergence of the lockdowns to make water cheap and accessible.
Mugoya adds that a portion of the community is still ignorant about accessing clean and safe water which is a fundamental right for every citizen in Uganda. “We make the water as cheap as possible but the community decides to cheat themselves. We have sold a 20 litre jerrycan of water at Shs. 25 but you find it being sold at Shs. 100,” he said.
Mugoya says that the corporation has intensified efforts to work on a 6-inch line water pipeline from Nabuuti to Nsuube stretching to 3.5km. Another 6-inch line water pipeline from Mbalala is being worked on stretching up to Namawojolo.
Mugoya urges the community to stop water loss in Mukono.” If the water doesn’t reach the customer, we are wasting tax payers’ money. Also, any one stealing water is affecting every Ugandan. We need to be responsible citizens,” he said.
Mugoya explains the requirements for one to get connected to NWSC to access water.” Right now, we are fully online. A person has to scan their land title, passport photo and National identity card into one document. Then go to our website www.nwsc.co.ug and follow prompts,” he said.