Officials from water and sanitation development facility showing RDC Buga (R) some of the equipment installed in the facility on Wednesday

By Andrew Cohen Amvesi  

MARACHA. Josephine Aguta, a resident of Oluffe Cell, Poo ward in Okokoro Town Council, Maracha district is one of the many residents in the district who used to trek several kilometers in search of clean and safe water.

Some of the locals during the operation and maintenance meeting at Okokoro TC headquarters on Thursday.

On average, locals in Maracha district cover a distance of about 1km to 2km to the nearest water source and spend between 3 to 4 hours before getting water for domestic consumption. This is usually twice or three times a day depending on the size of a family.

The sources of water the residents rely on are; boreholes, shallow wells, rivers and springs among others.

This is the same situation Aguta has been going through on a daily basis until when the Ministry of Water and Environment constructed a shs3.697bn piped water supply and sanitation facility in the area.

“This piped water project has helped me so much. At home, I find it easy to cook with it because at first, I was fetching water from far away. Now these days, I am fetching water within my compound, it is now easy for me to get water,” Aguta narrated.

Officials from water and sanitation development facility showing RDC Buga (R) some of the equipment installed in the facility on Wednesday

Aguta said she used to fetch water from a shallow well which is about 1km away from her home, making it hard for her to do other domestic chores in time.

“I thank the government so much for providing us with this piped water. These days we are looking at ourselves as if we are in the city because of this piped water project,” Aguta further remarked.

Similarly, Jacinto Matua, another resident who doubles as the Local Council One (LCI) chairperson of Amaa cell, Lamila Ward, Okokoro Town Council said children used to drown in rivers during rainy season while others including women, suffered all forms of humiliation and unnecessary delays at distant water sources.

But now, Matua is optimistic that the project will in the long run, save the children and women in his cell from the risks they have been exposed to while looking for water from rivers and shallow wells.

The Okokoro piped water project being implemented by the Ministry of Water and Environment through Water and Sanitation Development Facility – North is funded by the government of Uganda with support from the German government through KFW Development Bank and with consulting Engineers Salzgitter (CES) as the International Management Consultant.

The Okokoro piped water facility

Speaking during an operation and maintenance meeting at Okokoro Town Council headquarters on Thursday, Emmanuel Okello Esele, the Okokoro piped water project contracts manager from the Ministry of Water and Environment said currently, they have connected about 300 residents to the piped water system.

“The number is expected to grow to 10,896 people when we hand over the system to the Umbrella of water and sanitation – North for operation and maintenance after completion but going by the design, we expect by 2042, we should be serving a population of about 19,800 people. That is what we project,” Okello said.

“Basically, the project has two water supply systems; one in Poo village and the other in Elibo village where we are abstracting about 8 cubic meters of water from each borehole. We also have two sources of electricity for powering the system; we are using solar as the main source of power and again we are using the hydro electricity which is supplied by WENRECo,” Okello added.

He narrated that they are extracting the water from the two boreholes and pumping it through pumping mains which deliver the water to a 15-meter-high tower tank of about 200 cubic meters.

“This is a service but then, the main cost implication when it comes to the locals is that they have to pay a fee to access this service. It is not that we are selling the water but the main reason is that this system has to continue running. Much as the government has put in the basic infrastructure, this system has to continue running, there has to be somebody to maintain it, there has to be somebody to keep on checking through to see how the system is working and that is why we are here for this meeting today,” Okello said.

However, in his opening remarks, Rtd. Capt. Yasin Matata Buga, the Maracha Resident District Commissioner (RDC) warned the ministry officials against using the project to maximize profit.

“Now that you have brought for us the water and that is why the government wants people to get safe water, please don’t make a lot of profit out of this project. It is unfair when you over charge the residents. This is a government project which has come and I want you to give people the opportunity to access the water at a lower tariff and when somebody defaults, I don’t want the person to be harassed, go slowly because water is life,” Buga observed.

Emmanuel Awio, the Maracha District Deputy Chief Administrative Officer (DCAO) commended the ministry for the project, saying it is a great achievement for the district.

“Our communities have been suffering for a long period of time with the issues to deal with water whereby you find particularly, women struggling for a long distance either walking or riding on bicycles to go and search for water which is time consuming and resource wasteful. So, with this project coming, we shall have the opportunity for the community members to have water just on their compounds,” Awio said.

The one-year project expected to be completed on July 14, 2023 is being undertaken by Reddy’s Borehole Technical Services and M/S.

According to Eng. Herbert Edria, the Maracha District Assistant Engineering Officer, with the intervention, the current safe water coverage in Maracha district stands at 84.5 percent.

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