Nakapiripirit. The high piped water connection fees have started biting the rural families in Nakapiripirit District.
Residents say the high cost is limiting their access to clean water as many say they cannot afford Shs300,000 to have piped water extended to their homes.
“I wanted to connect clean water to my home since I am just very close to the main pipe but the technical team from Karamoja Water Umbrella demanded Shs300,000. Where will I get that money when I have no job?” Ms Grace Nalem, a mother of seven and resident of Lorengedwat Village, says.
Karamoja Water Umbrella is a private partner working with the Ministry of Water to extend clean water to rural communities in Karamoja Sub-region. It covers rural areas such as Karenga in Kaabong, Kakingol in Moroto and Nakapiripirit Town Council.
Ms Sarah Lochuge, a resident of Tokora Trading Centre in Kakomongole Sub-county, says many residents are unable to buy water from taps.
“We tried to buy from those who managed to connect piped water but they charge Shs500 per jerrycan yet for me at my home, on average, I use about 10 jerrycans of water in a day,” she says.
Mr Patrick Guti, another resident, says: “Piped water supplied by Karamoja Water Umbrella in Nakapiripirit is meant for the working class. I will continue drinking water from the river after all my parents used to drink from the same river. I cannot stress myself to get Shs300,000 for connecting water in my home which I will still be paying monthly, it is much.”
Mr Mark Loputh, the Lorengedwat Village chairperson, explains that their effort to mobilise the communities to embrace piped water have been frustrated by high connection fees.
“When this organisation (Karamoja water umbrella) approached us with the idea of providing clean water, it was highly welcomed until they mentioned the connection fees which was so difficult for the locals to foot,” he says.
Mr John Nangiro, the Nakapiripirit District chairperson, says the connection fees need to be reduced to enable more locals to access clean water.
“As a district, we have gone back to encourage our people to take water from boreholes because the prices of Karamoja Water Umbrella for connections are abnormal,” he says.
However, Mr Benson Logira, the regional administrative officer of Karamoja Water Umbrella, declined to comment on the matter.