Uproar as Kampala suffers prolonged water outages, 10 faults reported on new Katosi-Kampala water transformation in one week amid reports of substandard pipes

For the pasf months, there have been stories of residents making long queues for water, and others stocking up jerrycans to handle the water shortage (PHOTO /Courtesy)

KAMPALA — A catastrophic water crisis has hit Kampala Metropolitan Area—with city dwellers now facing irregular and prolonged water outages for the past months.

As complaints mount, the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) looks to deflect the blame, citing large population movements from rural areas to informal settlements around urban centers.

Nevertheless, NWSC has failed to avoid becoming a target of criticism as photos and videos reminiscent of the early 1970s emerge.

For example, Lubaga Division, Nakawa Division residents have complained of frequent water cuts since last Friday, while several neighborhoods especially in Kawempe Division and Wakiso have barely had any running water since last week.

Harriet Namagga, a  resident in Lugala Masanafu told this website that they have opted to fetch the water from a well because the tap water from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) is no longer reliable.

Some casual labourers are taking advantage of the scarcity to fetch water for the residents.

The labour charge upto UGX 700 to UGX 1000 for a jerrycan, depending on the distance from the well.

She points out that the water from the well is, however, no longer as clean as it once was since there are many people encroaching on it, contaminating it in the process.

The NWSC blames insufficient water supply in the face of the increasing population of Kampala Metropolitan Area.

The also say that the number of people sleeping in Kampala Metropolitan Area js beyond the plan and also alleging that a “water pressure” problem prevents water utility firm from supplying enough water, especially to areas on elevated ground.

The current water demand within the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area is estimated to be between 280,000 to 300,000m3/day, while the Gaba Water Treatment Plant was only able to produce about 240,000m3/day.

NWSC says this leads to numerous dry areas and water rationing within the City.

A few years ago, government through National Water and Sewerage Corporation pledged a solution to the problem by constructing a mega water plant at Katosi to server the area but reports indicate irregularities in the project including substandard water pipes by the contractor leading to transmission issues.

Early this month, over 10 faults were reported on the DN1400 bulk transmission for the Katosi-Kampala transmission main.

These faults have for example affected water supply reservoirs of Mukono, Seeta, Mutungo, Sonde and Naguru.

In Namugongo Kyaliwajala, Naalya, Kisaasi, Ntinda routinely facing water challenges.

This water scarcity is not only hitting Kampala Metropolitan Area Similar scenarios are happening elsewhere especially in Mpigi and other areas as far as Busunju district.

Members of the public want Parliament to investigate the network of motivated individuals NWSC in collusion to allow this sub-standard process to be in effect.

For older residents of the city, the images of lines in front of water tankers recall similar scenes in the 1960s and 70s when water shortages were a daily occurrence all across the city during President Milton Obote and President Idi Amin’s administrations.

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