Saturday, July 24, 2010

Poor workmanship a cause for water shortage at most protected springs; a case of Kisebere 2 and Kamighanza protected springs.

Poor workmanship has been singled out by community based monitors under KALI and GOOD Hope as major cause for low water flow rate at most of the protected springs in the Rwenzori region. This was revealed in a report by community based monitors in the Rwenzori region. The study which considered protected springs in Kasese, Kabarole and Kyenjojo Districts blamed their poor or non functionality to wrong sitting, shoddy construction works, use of inadequate materials such as sand and cement and poor workmanship. This has negatively impacted the community access to safe and clean water. In some cases the protected springs suffered from lack of maintenance by the users, for instance, some were bushy, muddy and in a state of disrepair. According to the users of the water sources, the poor operation and maintenance of the water facilities is blamed on the failure of the water user committees to account for the funds collected from the communities. They also blame the water authorities at sub county and district level for the slow response to reports about the breakdown and functionality of the water facilities. In some cases the communities blamed the local authorities for not involving the water users in the planning and construction of the facilities citing many cases where there was neither commissioning nor launch of the water facilities. Out of the sampled 80 water facilities in the region, as many as 40 had been constructed but the communities did not know the year of construction nor could they name the contractor.

In brief the non functionality of water facilities in the Rwenzori region can be attributed to factors such as Poor system designs, O & M Issues, Non-functionality and Non-existance of WUCs, Failure to pay user fees, Failure by the Local authories to comply incase they are reported to Low civic competence.

However, the study by the monitors gives hope on the situation of water in the region. It notes that all sub counties along the Rwenzori Mountain ranges still have safe water in spite of the general global warming. It also notes that the faulty gravity flow schemes and protected springs can be repaired; and most of the water sources protected can still act as sources for Gravity Flow Schemes.

The monitors also note that there is misallocation of resources for instance the rain water harvesting tanks in schools. Cases inpoint cited include Hamukungu, Kanyatsi, Katholhu and Kiraro primary schools that have rain harvesting water tanks but have not made use of them because of failure to fix gutters. In some cases the rain harvesting water tanks have remained dumped and unutilized as is the case of Kikorongo roadside market in Kasese District for as long as four years. This is inspite of the fact that there are some more desrving schools and institutions that are water stressed but have no rain water harvesting tanks. In otherwords in some of the schools there is plenty but negligently unutilized while in others there is completely nothing.
By Timothy Balikenga

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