Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Institutions and private entities in Gulu are on the spot of illegal connections and drilling of boreholes as National Water and Sewerage Corporation loses millions of shillings in the City.
At least nine business entities with accumulated water bills have are to reported illegally have contracted their own water sources to escape settlement of the arrears.
Lukwiya Gang, the Gulu Area Manager National Water disclosed in an interview with Uganda Radio Network on Friday that the entity is suffering losses with such illegal connections.
Though he declined to disclose the eight other Institutions, he identified Posta Uganda and Telecommunication to have breached the guidelines and illegally drilled their own borehole.
In the letter of summons, Posta Uganda and Telecommunication Gulu Regional Office has been ordered to close their own water facility and also asked to pay an outstanding arrivers of 2.8 million shillings.
Lukwiya however explained that the policy guidelines bar individuals and Institutions from provision of own water sources where National Water operates without approval from the Ministry of Water.
“We aren’t running away from competition but there are procedures to follow which many of our clients are either intentionally or ignorantly breaching” Lukwiya added.
He further revealed that of the 12,500 families and premises connected with water, three quarters of them have outstanding arrivers of over 150 million shillings.
Lukwiya blamed the phenomenon on misunderstanding of the presidential directive that halted collection of water bills from customers during the first phase of lockdown in the Country.
“When the directive descended on us, it was considerate that we needed to keep constant supply of water but now the challenge is that we still can’t collect those bills” Lukwiya further explained.
However, when contacted on telephone over the allegation, Sarah Alele, the Regional Manager Posta Uganda Gulu Regional Office says she is yet to study the summons by the National Water.
“ I have been out of office for long and I am yet to resume office and respond to the letter if there is any need for” Alele added.
The statistics from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation indicates that the water supply in Gulu City currently exceeds the demand. At Oitino Dam where the biggest supply comes from, only 2 million liters of water are distributed daily to the users while 1 million liters more are preserved.
However, with 8 boreholes contracted across the City with a capacity of a daily production of 3 million liters of water, only 2 million liters of water are equally consumed.
According to Lukwiya, the Karuma-Gulu ongoing water project will supply 30 million liters of water daily in the subsequent years within the City after the completion of work.
Richard Musota, the Manger Upper Nile Water Management Zone in the Ministry of Water and Environment revealed that the Ministry has learnt of many illegal connections of water sources not only in Gulu but other Cities in the North.
Musota explained that such connections breach ministerial and policy guidelines on safe water supply in the area where the National Water is in operational.
He noted that one is only allowed to provide alternative water sources with special consideration in case of limited supply from the National Water or when the National Water is contaminated.
“We may not overrule the demand in Gulu for alternative water sources looking at the supplies from the National Water but they need to follow the procedures to avoid legal actions” Musota added.
He has however advised the National Water to engage with the new areas annexed to the City for a mutual understanding on the parallel water sources constructed earlier and how they can be handled.
Illegal connection of water sources can attract a penalty of 470,000 shillings of monthly charges to the offender for up to a period of 12 years.
Among other penalties is closure of the water facility and withdrawal of license of the company contracted for the work.