They collect a minimal fee from residents for maintaining the boreholes as well as mitigate factor that lead to unnecessary breakdowns.
Members of water user committees in Luweero district have neglected their roles leading to the rampant breakdown of water boreholes. The water user committees are comprised of five members. They collect a minimal fee from residents for maintaining the boreholes as well as mitigate factor that lead to unnecessary breakdowns. Statistics from Luweero District water department show that there are 1178 boreholes in district, but many of them have broken down.
Imran Mukiibi, district Secretary for works and Technical services attributes the breakdown to the failure by members of the water user committee in their work. He says that most water user committees in the district have died out due to financial disputes with residents and lack of funds to motivate them. He explains that the district resolved that they should collect between 500-1000 shillings per month from each resident but the fees become a bone of contention within the parties.
He explains that due to wrangles in soliciting the fees from residents, some water user committee members decided to resign leading to their disintegration. Mukiibi also says that previous the ministry of water would give chairperson of the water user committees bicycles as motivation for the services and supervision but this ended.
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Mukiibi says that the disintegration of the committees have worsened the breakdown of boreholes leading to water scarcity in communities. He says that in the 2011-2012 financial year, 50 boreholes broke down under circumstances that could have been avoided if the committees were active. He says that they have only managed to repair 28 bores using local resources leaving some communities without access to water points.
James Mukasa a resident of Nakikona village says that the absence of the water committees has led to water scarcity because the district takes time to repair boreholes whenever they breaks down. He says that as a result residents trek long distances in search of water as well using dirty points which may lead to disease outbreaks.
Musa Kayongo a member of water user committee at Butuntumula sub county borehole says that they lack funds to carry out their supervisory roles because most residents have a poor attitude towards them. Kayongo asked the district to create a special fund for their operations and allowances for their efforts. But James Ssebwato, a resident of Butuntumula accuses water user committee members of financial impropriety.
Ssebwato says that these committees were swindling funds they collect from the users as well as charging high fees which leading to lack of trust from residents. Christopher Kyomya, the chief administrative officer Luweero district says that the water department is in process of reactivating the committees and sensitizing the communities about their roles.
According to draft budget for financial year 2012/13, the district plans to use 44 million shillings to repair boreholes. Statistics from the district water department indicates that 41% of residents in Luweero have no access to safe water.
water user committees
financial disputes and inadequate funding
luweero chief administrative officer
secretary for works and technical services
ministry of water and environment