Hoima Hit by Acute Water Shortage

3016 Views Hoima, Uganda
An acute water shortage has hit Hoima district, forcing women and children to trek long distances in search of clean water. Evelyn Kusiima, a resident of Kikonda One in Kabwoya sub-county, says she walks three kilometers from her home everyday to get water. She says that once she gets to the well, she has to stand in a long queue for several hours because of the large number of people for whom the well is their only source of clean water. Kusiima says most of streams and rivers near her home have dried up and she has no choice but to spend several hours looking for water. Three of the protected springs in Kabwoya sub-county have dried up in the past five years. The last remaining spring is barely able to serve the community because long droughts have turned into a seasonal spring. Ibrahim Luswata, the Hoima District Water Officer, says massive deforestation is to blame for the depletion of the water sources. He says a large percentage of the forest cover has been destroyed by charcoal makers or people clearing land for agriculture. As a result the springs and streams are exposed, silted and most of them have dried up. Hoima district has a total 331 boreholes, 351 shallow wells and 548 springs. By June 30th last year, this enabled Hoima to attain 72.5 percent water coverage. However the Assistant District Water Officer, Ronald Okee, says many of these developments have been undone. He says the water table is fast dropping and more than five recently-constructed boreholes have dried up. Okee calls for urgent intervention to mitigate these and other effects of climate change. He warns that in the next 30 years Hoima may not have any boreholes at all. The boreholes that have dried are in Nyahaira and Kiziranfumbi.