A water shortage has hit Kiseka and Ndagwe sub-counties in Masaka district.
While the heavens are pouring down rain, the water pipes in the two sub-counties have run dry for the past few weeks. Most affected are Busagala, Kito, Kiziiba, Kalegero, Kibubbu and Balimanyankya villages in Kiseka.
The problem has been exacerbated by the breakdown of the available boreholes. Three boreholes at Kumugezzi, Bulemu, and Buyiki, which serve the population of about 500 families, have long been lying in a state of disrepair.
Water vendors have taken advantage of the shortage to more than double their prices. A 20-litre jerrican of water that used to cost 200 shillings is now 800 shillings. People who can't afford these prices have to walk to Kyojja swamp, about 10 kilometers away, to fetch water.
Yvette Ampaire, a resident of Lubanda in Kisekka sub-county, says she sometimes spends four hours hunting for clean water from a secure source. She says most of the open water sources are trampled by animals and used as waste dumps.
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Ampaire says she is afraid for her family's health if no solution to the water crisis is found.
The LC3 chairperson of Kiseka, Abdul Matovu, says sinking boreholes in the area is hard because of the topography of the sub-county. He says six new boreholes that were sunk recently all collapsed because of the falling levels of the water table.
The Kiseka sub-county council is now considering the passing of a by-law that will make it mandatory for all families to harvest rain water.
Matovu says that many people are aware of the benefits of building tanks and harvesting water for the dry seasons. He blames the limited application of this knowledge on laziness and poor planning practices.
62% of the people in Masaka have access to safe and clean water. Several families in the district rely on water harvesting as their primary source of safe water.