Uganda: Kitgum District Embarks On Keeping Water Sources Clean

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Dan Michael Komakech
July 9, 2014

Kitgum district water department has embarked on a campaign for dismantling boreholes with filthy environs temporary in a bid to let the water users maintain proper hygiene and sanitation around them.

Kitgum district water officer Peter Oryem Okema reveals that the campaign will see the affected boreholes reconnected after their soak pits and fences are erected and environs maintained clean.

He says the motive isn’t ill intended but meant to ensure that water users maintain tidiness and avoid littering the water sources so as to reduce the spread of water and sanitation related diseases in the community.

“It’s quite unfortunate that 90 percent of boreholes in the district are left in a filthy state and hence we shall still continue with the campaign to ensure proper hygiene and promote appropriate rural sanitation and hygiene practices”, says Oryem Peter Okema.

A woman draws water as animals invade the borehole in Oget village Akwang sub county in Kitgum district
A woman draws water as animals invade the borehole in Oget village Akwang sub county in Kitgum district

Oryem Toomoi, the chairperson of Tee-Bil, “A” water source committee (a committees set up to monitor the boreholes and contact hand-pump mechanics if one breaks down) in Oget village in Mura parish in Akwang Sub County attributes the vice to village members who are hesitant to abide by appeals to keep the water source clean.

He also adds that other village members do not restrain their animals leaving them to roam unattended to as they access the water points.

“Some of these village members leave their Pigs, cattle, goats and other animals to drink water at the boreholes and these livestock pollute the water making people prone to water borne relate illnesses”, says Oryem Toomoi.

Peter Oryem Okema faults the village water source committees for being negligent in observing that the water points are kept and maintained clean, and for not sensitizing the community on the importance of personal hygiene and tips for keeping water clean.

He also argues that statistics indicate that communities that do not keep their water points clean have been linked to increased cases of water borne related illnesses that include diarrhea and malaria.

Animals at an unprotected water source in Kitgum district
Animals at an unprotected water source in Kitgum district

The Kitgum district secretary for works and technical services Tabu Geoffrey supports the move saying access to a clean water sources and maintaining cleanliness at the water sources in their vicinity would reduce instances of water borne diseases.

He advises village communities to own the water sources and change attitude of thinking that maintaining, repairs and ensuring cleanliness of the water sources should be done by government.

“Lack of ownership is to blame for the vice because locals think that the responsibility for maintaining the water point lies on government other than the community”

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