Water Shortage Hits 10 Villages In Kitgum

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In short
A crack on a 20,000 litre water tank has thrown communities in Namokora Town Board into panic. The crack has affected 12 water points supplying water to 10 villages in the Town Board, in Namokora Sub County, Kitgum district.

A crack on a 20,000 litre water tank has thrown communities in Namokora Town Board into panic. The crack has affected 12 water points supplying water to 10 villages in the Town Board, in Namokora Sub County, Kitgum district.
 
The damage has plunged the estimated 200,000 people into unexpected congestion at the few boreholes in the Town Board due to dwindling supply reaching many of the motorized water points.
 
Charles Onen, the Namokora Town Board Local Council, says the sub county has failed to fix the damage due to funding shortfalls. He says the cash-strapped sub county requires at least 2 million shillings to replace the water tank since several attempts to fix the problem have failed.
 
The sub county has contacted the Northern Uganda Water Facility, a charity organization based in Lira to intervene since the district has also failed to rescue the communities.
 
//Cue in: “There is a crack…
Cue out:….this water tank.”//
 
Onen says the sub county has been struggling with this problem for the last three years. He says congestion at the water point is leading to many social crimes such as defilement of young girls and rape of women.
 
AVSI constructed the motorized water tank when communities in the sub country were in camps for displaced persons during the height of the LRA war in northern Uganda. When the AVSI pulled out of the sub county, lack of fuels which they provided grounded the system to a halt.
 
The UN children’s agency, UNICEF, rehabilitated the system with 68 solar panels to also supply water to pupils in Namokora Primary School. But the joy the system brought has drastically been short-lived by the crack on the tank.
 
Community members who can’t queue for long hours at the few running water points have turned their focus to drawing water from valley dams shared with livestock.
 
Rose Ogweng, is one of the many women fetching water from Lagwal Valley Dam. She says they started fetching water from the valley dam when their community borehole broke down. Like other women, Ogweng had to move for more than 3 miles to the nearest water point in the Town Board.
 
Ogweng says unlike in the camps when they had water purification and treatment tablets widely available, they are no longer available today. 
 
Boiling drinking water is a new concept among this community. Unless the crack on the tank and the broken boreholes are fixed soon, these women will continue fetching and drinking contaminated water from the valley dams at least for some time. Consequently, we might see re-emergence of water borne diseases in the Town Board.

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a journalist for ten years. During this period, Peter Labeja has investigated and reported on post conflict issues related to land rights of under privileged, resettlement of internally displaced persons and access to services in the aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

“The thin line between environment and human survival in a changing climate challenges me to do robust coverage of this beat” Labeja said. In 2013, Labeja won prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at UN’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. His journalism spans national and international boundaries.

Labeja previously worked with The Vision Group for four years and later became URN staff member in 2014. He is currently the bureau chief in charge of West Acholi -Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts. His major interests are in environment and natural resource, human rights and access to justice, security, agriculture and governance.

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