NAKASONGOLA. The fishing communities at Lwampanga Landing Site in Nakasongola District have accused government officials of failing a project that had been planned to extend safe and clean water to them.
Residents claim they are forced to share the only available water source on the banks of Lake Kyoga with animals because government did not fulfil its promise of pumping water from the lake to a treatment plant before re-directing it to nearby reservoir tanks for use.
“The reservoir tank, including the house pump you see at the site, is a white elephant. These facilities were never completed. The pipes were installed but we have never seen water pumped to the tank yet the contractor handed over the project to the district in 2014,” Mr Joseph Kaikara, a resident, said on Monday.
“Our families trek long distances to fetch water from Lake Kyoga because we have no alternative. We demand that this pump is fixed by government,” he added.
Ms Deborah Nabatanzi, a resident of Lwampanga Sub-County, said she moves a distance of about 10kms to fetch water from the lake.
“I would not mind about the distance if the water was safe and clean. The point at which we draw the water at the lake is very deep. Our children who collect the water from the lake risk drowning. The dry spell, which has hit parts of Nakasongola, has complicated the situation. We have to spend some time lining up for water at the lake,” Ms Nabatanzi said.
The sub-county chairperson, Mr George William Lubega, said he is equally disappointed that no leader has come up to explain the circumstances that led the contractor to hand over a water pump, which is nonfunctional.
“We have tried to make a follow up, but we are yet to get clear answers. The water problem for Lwampanga residents is challenging because all efforts made to have some boreholes drilled failed,” Mr Lubega said.
“The water table in the sub-county cannot support the establishment of boreholes as safe water sources. Surprisingly, the infrastructure left behind by the contractor for both the fish handling and safe water are depreciating,” he added.
The district chairperson, Mr Sam Kigula, said they have now given up on the Lwampanga water project, arguing that despite repeated reminders, government did not follow up on the contractor to complete the works.
“The contractor handed over to the district incomplete facilities, promising that they would finish what was still pending. They never came back. We made a follow up through the ministry of Agriculture, who supervised the project but we are yet to get the right solution,” he said. Mr Kigula said the Minister of Agriculture, Mr Vincent Ssempijja, has since promised that funds will soon be availed to fix the problem.
“We tried to use our district engineers to fix the problem but the results were not fruitful. We have now put our hope in the new electricity line being constructed in the area where we hope to have a water pump powered by electricity for residents in these areas,” he added.