Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Thousands of residents in Kiteny sub county, Kitgum district are struggling to access clean water as dozens of boreholes run dry.
There are 21 functional boreholes out of the 31 in the area but all of them dried up during the dry season.
All the boreholes were drilled near seasonal swamps in order to draw water due to the rocky and arid nature of the area. However, most of the seasonal swamps have currently dried up.
Alfred Okema, the Kiteny sub county LCIII chairperson says that they are stuck with the 21 boreholes because they are all not producing water and nothing can be done about it.
He explained that some of the residents have been forced to get water for drinking and domestic use from unprotected sources which include Lutek, Kajabon, and Lukorayi.
Okema added that some water sources have also been taken over by armed Karamojong cattle rustlers as alternative sources for their animals prompting fear among the residents.
He identified that the most affected area includes Ladotonen and Lakongera parishes which have high populations yet the functional boreholes in the areas produce less than 100 liters of water a day.
Joseph Obwona, the chairperson for Ajulu village with over 500 residents says that they are trekking more than 7 kilometers to get water from the nearest water harvester tank in Lakongera village.
He noted that this is not only tiresome but time-wasting especially for those who have garden works to attend to.
Obwona disclosed that his area and the neighborhood have been experiencing these challenges for more than 10 years and the district leadership says they are helpless and cannot rescue the situation.
Monica Acan, a resident of Ajulu village says that the crisis is not only exposing them to diseases related to poor sanitation but also risky to the young girls who walk long distances or take a lot of time to get water from the unprotected streams which might make them vulnerable to sexual abusers.
William Omunga Picho, the Kitgum district water officer says that the challenge will persist all dry seasons due to the nature of the area which is rocky and semi-arid, making it difficult to drill boreholes or get water from underground.
He however noted that the district will construct a modern dam in the area to ensure a constant supply of water in the area.