By Christopher Ahimbisibwe, Orumuri/NECJOGHA
Mbarara, Uganda – Farmers and pastoralists in western Uganda are excited by the rise in the water level of River Rwizi which will enable them carry out their activities successfully.
The farmers are from the 10 districts where River Rwizi passes which include; 10 districts of Rakai, Lyantonde, Isingiro, Lwengo, Kiruhura, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Buhweju, Sheema and Rubirizi. They say they are expectant of good produce and increased production due to an increase of water volumes in the river.
River Rwizi is one of the most important sources of water in the region which gives water for domestic value, agriculture and industrial work. Due to the heavy rains which the region has been receiving, the level of water in the River Rwizi has rise to an extent that in some areas it has burst its banks.
Betty Mbaziira a dairy farmer from Isingiro says that the increased volumes of water of River Rwizi will lead high to milk production as animals will have enough water to drink.
“During the dry season animals don’t have enough water to drink moreover even the pastures are scarce which leads to reduction in milk. However, since the river is now full and even their dams we constructed are full of water animals no longer move long distance for water,” she explained.
Charles Mashunju a passion fruit farmer and coffee farmer from Ndeija in Rwampara district explains that, the increased volumes of water in the River Rwizi has brought a smile to their faces because he is now confident that he has enough water to use at the farm.
“Knowing that passion fruits need a lot of water in order to have high yields, I use a pump to get water from the river for irrigation, but when the water levels of River Rwizi fall, one has to wake up very early in the morning to get enough water before other users drain it, “he narrates.
Mashunju is now happy and he is expects that the passion fruit production on his farm will increase throughout the year because he has managed to store enough water which he will be using.
Tayebwa Emmanuel a dairy farmer from Kiruhura who uses solar energy to pump water from one of the tributaries of the River Rwizi is hopeful of increasing on production because he now has enough water for the animals to drink and give a lot of milk.
A few months back I visited the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) water collection center along Mbarara –Kabale road and I found the water levels had fallen below the main water pipes meaning that they couldn’t pump water for supply to residents.
During the dry spell in months of May, June, July, and August, there was a big campaign codenamed ‘Save River Rwizi’ meant to stop the human activities like sand mining and industrial activity that was encroaching on the river.
Factories like Nile breweries and Coca Cola, that consume big volumes of water per day, and NWSC which pumps water for domestic use from the river were at a loss.
Jeconoius Musingwire the focal person for NEMA in western Uganda told us that the increase in water level will continue and those who have encroached the boundaries of the river should vacate soon to avoid loss of life and properties.
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