Uganda: Kitgum Residents Share Water Points With Animals

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Dan Michael Komakech
June 23, 2014

Residents of Toboi in Lolwa parish Orom Sub County in Kitgum district have resorted to sharing contaminated rain runoff water that collects on rock inselbergs with animals due to scarce water points in the vicinity.

The resident explain that they survive on dirty unprotected water from Lela Toboi inselberg because of the far distance of over three to seven kilometers that one has to trek in search of clean drinking water in the neighboring villages of Wipolo and Tikau and Karekalet river spring.

The situation has rendered residents particularly the most vulnerable elderly, disability and children to opt for nothing other than runoff water from contaminated sources which makes them exposed to water borne diseases and death.

“If it rains we utilize rain runoff water that gathers on these inselberg and if it dries off we trek to Wipolo aor Tikau where we are charged 2000 shillings (nearly one US Dollar) per 20 litre jerycan”, says Rose Acan.

Acan fetches water from an Inselberg in Kitgum
Acan fetches water from an Inselberg in Kitgum

Rose Acan says that despite having placed several appeals before the relevant authorities about the problem; nothing is being done to help the over 400 affected households in his village.

Orom Sub County Chairperson Quirino Olum says the problem has been persistent because of the inability to drill boreholes in the area due to the rocky topography and appeals government and other stakeholders to help the community by hastening the Orom gravity water flow project.

“I challenge the district and the central government to implement the project so that the locals can have access to clean water for domestic use and production.”

Gravity Water Flow Scheme

Plans are underway to commence the construction of a 25 billion shillings (about 100 million US Dollar) gravity water flow scheme that will involve tapping piped water from the Karakalet and Lakilepa natural water springs that flows atop Orom hills in Kitgum district.

Kitgum district water officer Peter Oryem Okema says the project, if completed will improve the access to safe water in villages with low safe water coverage due to in ability to drill boreholes for domestic use and production.

A water point in Kitgum guarded with dry branches of trees to prevent animals from access it
A water point in Kitgum guarded with dry branches of trees to prevent animals from access it

Okema notes that Orom lies along areas in Kitgum with the poorest ground water potential due to rocky topography and geology which makes it inability to drill borehole and hitting dry wells adding that the scheme has the capacity to benefit the Sub-counties of Orom, Mucwini, Namokora, Omiya Anyima, Lagoro and Kitgum Matidi.

He further notes that initially there was a plan to utilize the gravity flow scheme for an irrigation scheme but they opted to change it domestic use other than farming and production.

Senior engineers from the Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment have already conducted a feasibility survey to get a consultant to design the scheme and bid documents to secure a contractor to commence the implementation of the project.

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