South Western region could be inching closer to having a permanent solution to water shortage as National Waster and Sewerage Corporation finalizes plans to pump water from River Kagera.
In an exclusive interview with Kigezinews on September 4 the principal public relations officer Mbarara region Paul Kahiigi said that plans are in the final stages.
Plans have been finalized and the contract awarded for a mega project worth about Shs 200 bn (50 million Euros) that will see the districts of Mbarara, Isingiro, Lyantonde Rwengo and Masaka benefit from .
This he said is in preparation for the population increase due to city status of Mbarara and Masaka and rapid urbanization currently the country is facing.
This will also benefit the water stressed Isingiro and Kiruhura districts. Currently Mbarara water works are faced with the dwindling water supply from R. Rwizi due to heavy encroachment and wetland degradation right from the river’s source in Buwheju district.
Kahiigi says that although Mbarara still has enough water it has become expensive to treat due to poor water quality which is heavily contaminated by pollutants emanating from dumping of effluence from industries and homes, environmental and wetland degradation.
‘Wetlands degradation starts from Buhweju district and continues to Mbarara through Sheema where they have been drained and have dried up, locals have dug along the river banks, sand mining is rampant and silting has taken place among other abuses,” he says.
He says as a corporation their hands are tied up because they are not mandated to implement the enforcement other than sensitizing the population about the dangers of destroying the environment.
“Our hands are tied up we can’t enforce the law, it is only National Environment Authority NEMA which has the mandate to implement the law. We work hand in hand with them but many challenges still exist.”
He however says as stakeholders they have embarked protection water sources of R. Rwizi and Kitagata river which the source for Bushenyi and Sheema districts. R. Rwizi has also been invaded by the water Hyacinth which is spreading like bush fire.
The project has been awarded to 2 contractors for final designs, Cabinet Merline will design the Isingiro section while Nicholas O’bweyer will design form Isingiro to Mbarara and Masaka respectively.