Lack of water threats lives in Rwampara
By Hope Mafaranga
People in Rwampara, Mbarara district are sleeping on empty stomach due to lack of water. The most affected areas are Kashuro, Kyankyere and Kiyonga.
Alfred Bikitwoho are resident of Kashuro says that the three villages share one spring and queue is too long to bear.
“When someone goes to fetch water at 3pm, he/ she will return after midnight when all children and the rest of the family members are a sleep,” he said.
He said the spring which was constructed in 1984 to serve a small population can no longer do serve them because the household has grown from 200 in 1984 to over 800 now.
He said that the challenge of water is time wasting and people have resorted to taking and using unsafe and clean water.
In a desperate move, James Nuwagaba has dug a 40fit pit to tap water that flows during rain seasons. Nuwagaba who termed the water scarcity as a “curse” said that the area has been neglected by government and other stakeholders and as result people even spends a week without bathing.
“I am too desperate to save my family and animals from this curse of water scarcity. Most of us here take weeks without bathing. ,” Nuwagaba said.
Before Nuwagaba concluded his statement, the Kashuru LC 1 chairman Geoffrey Begumanya interjected saying that: “You cannot fail to get water for cooking and drinking and you get water for bathing!
Begumanya appealed to government to put an engine and a reserver to pump water from the valley to the uphill to an end of suffering of the people there.
“We are gathering money as local people but we can’t raise 800m needed to put a gravity scheme, we urgently need government’s intervention before we die,” he said.
Begumanya also said that the water scarcity has also affected the standard of education and children’s performance, urging that they send children to fetch water and take a day to come back.
“Our children no longer go to school because they have to assist families to search for water,” he said.
Begumanya was on Wednesday speaking during a community dialogue that was organized by HEPS Uganda at Kashuro primary school, Ndeija Sub-county, in Mbarara district.
The Executive Director of HEPS Uganda, Rosette Mutambi said that the issue is not only a water issue but also a health one.
She said that people of that area suffer from water borne disease and appealed government to address it..
“ The issue of health is threat to people’s lives because they suffer from water borne diseases which they should not have if at all they had safe and clean water. As a result, government spends much on drugs more than preventing the diseases,” she said.
The Mbarara Assistant Water Engineering Officer, Engineer Joseph Mucunguzi said that people travel for more than 5 miles in search of water , adding that the only alternative is to pump water from the only one water point which is located in deep valley so that the people in the mountains can get access to water.
He however explained that to pump the it, the district needs about sh 800m to construct a reserver which is too expensive to for the district.
“We acknowledge that people here are suffering but we a the district we cannot afford the gravity water scheme for them because we have to hire a consultant, surveyor to see is possible to have water pumped. But gravity water scheme is too expensive and the government of Uganda cannot afford it unless we get donors,” he said.
However the MP Rwampara Vincent Kyamadidi said sad that they have failed to managed to manage the problem because the place is too hilly.
“Water pumping is not realistic in this area because of its terrain. I am encouraging people to construct tanks and develop a culture of harvesting water rain. Otherwise we will continue sleeping hungry and suffering waiting for the government to pump water uphill,” Kyamadidi said.