By Betty Mujungu, Voice of Toro/NECJOGHA
KABAROLE– The minister of water and environment, Sam Cheptoris, recently lost his temper when he declined to commission a water project in Kabarole district, due to the high cost that attendants charge per jerrycan.
His action came during the commissioning of Kiko town water supply in Kiko town council, in Kabarole district.
Cheptoris ordered The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) to immediately arrest the attendant, saying his actions were blackmailing government. A jerrycan of water costs shs200 at the water point.
“Our policy is to ensure that every village gets a water source in order to realise 100% access to clean and safe water by 2030.
“How come we still have people selling water at shs200 per jerrycan, at public water points? These are our saboteurs, arrest all of them and employ new people,” he directed. He wants a jerrycan of water sold at shs50.
Cheptoris said access to clean and safe water is a human right and, therefore, people should not be selling water expensively.
He said in order for the Government to reduce on the money spent on treating waterborne diseases, clean water ought to be prioritised.
“Diseases like dysentery, bilharzia and cholera are a result of drinking dirty water,” he said.
Cheptoris said they are working hard to ensure equal distribution of water in all areas.
The recently released Water and Environment sector performance report indicates that water coverage in urban areas increased from 77% to 79%, whereas rural water registered a decline from 70% to 69%.
Cheptoris also called for an affordable fee to sanitation facilities, saying high fees scare away people.
“Money has been injected into this infrastructure for use. Therefore, you have to make them affordable,” he said.
The Kabarole district chairperson, Richard Rwabuhinga, lauded the ministry for the project, saying it is contributing greatly in the economic transformation of the district.
Rwabuhinga advocated increased protection of the environment to enhance sustainable supply of water in the district, even to other places which still draw water from crater lakes.
Kiko town council chairperson Margret Kemigisa said the town council had started registering improvement.
“With this project, our people have started improving on matters of hygiene,” she said.
The sh1.6b European Union-funded project implemented by the Sanitation Development Facility South Western (WSDF-SW), is intended to benefit a projected population of 33,718 people in 15 villages in Kiko and Ruteete sub-counties.
The commissioner of urban water in charge of planning and development, Richard Matua, explained that the project will be gravitating water from NWSC distribution main point. NWSC is also expected to be managing the project.
According to Matua the project has a nine kilometre transmission main, 47.7 kilometre distribution main, eight kiosks and two 100 cubic metre concrete tanks.
The minister also commissioned other project components, including a public toilet, tanks and an office block in the town council.