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Kitgum targets 80% safe water access with new boreholes

Kitgum, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents in three selected sub-counties in Kitgum district will soon have access to clean drinking water, thanks to a multi-billion borehole drilling and rehabilitation project launched in the district.

At least 42 boreholes worth over 200 million Shillings are expected to be drilled in the sub-counties of Lagoro, Kitgum Matidi, and Omiya Anyima. Another 28 boreholes that were broken down will also be rehabilitated in the same sub-counties through the project funded by Lutheran World Federation-LWF.

Kitgum District Water Officer Willy Picho told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that the areas were selected because of the immense water access challenges faced by the locals. He says that the areas have for long had very difficult groundwater potential, yet financial constraints also limited the district intervention in constructing water sources.

According to Picho, once the boreholes are drilled and rehabilitated, the district is expected to have an improved percentage of water access by around five per cent this financial year. Currently, safe water coverage in Kitgum district stands at 125.9 percent while access to clean water remains slightly lower at only 74 per cent.

“Over this financial year, we can raise by five per cent so that we can come close to 80 per cent. By this organization coming on board, I think it’s possible to close it by five per cent according to our long term development plan,” says Picho. The project is expected to benefit a total of 2,083 households in 28 villages in the selected sub-counties.

Kenneth Oketayot Aroo, the Kitgum Matidi town council chairperson welcomed the move saying it will help to improve accessibility to clean water by residents in his area.

Aroo notes that one of the villages in Pakumu A in his sub-county currently has no access to clean water after its only water source got contaminated and declared unsafe for domestic use. He called for more intervention by the district to construct improved water sources to improve water coverage in the town council which has only 65 per cent safe water coverage.

Richard Okema, a resident of Labongoguru village in Omiya Anyima West is optimistic that a new borehole that has already been drilled in their area will help the community in accessing clean water. Okema says the community has for long been relying on a spring well that is often contaminated whenever it rains or by livestock which exposes them to hygiene-related diseases.

He however appealed to the district and other non-governmental organizations to consider increasing water points in the village to improve water coverage and accessibility.

Concy Akwero, another resident of Labongoguru village says she used to trek about two kilometres from her home to access clean water from another village. She hopes that with a new borehole drilled, many people especially women will take a rest from the burden of moving long distances in search of clean water.

Mastak Investments Ltd which was awarded the contract commenced drilling and rehabilitation works on September 20 and is expected to end on November 20 this year.

Last year, Kitgum district local government allocated 325 Million Shillings to construct 10 new boreholes and rehabilitate ten broken ones in the sub-counties of Omiya Anyima, Mucwini, Orom, Labongo Layamo, Labongo Akwang, Labongo Amida, Lagoro, Namokora, and Kitgum Matidi.

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