A water crisis has hit Mbale Municipality following a breakdown on the Electricity power line along the Mbale – Tororo Highway.
Emmanuel Ekanya, the Mbale Station Manager for National Water and Sewerage Cooperation (NWSC), says the crisis is a result of the break down in the electricity power line which pumps the largest water treatment plant at Manafwa river in Busiu.
Ekanya says his office was informed by the electricity power distributors UMEME that some poles along Mbale – Tororo Highway has fallen causing a power blackout along the highway where the water plant is located.
He says the alternative water plant in Moni is also undergoing repairs and as a result the entire municipality has gone without water for the past three days. He says the problem can only be solved when the power line is rectified.
The crisis has hit hard most business operators.
Hajji Omar Nangoli of Jawad Restaurant in Mbale town says the absence of water has affected their businesses as they have to spend big sums of money to fetch water from protected springs, which are currently crowded.
He says the cost of doing business has gone up because they are currently buying a Jerrycan of water at 1000 shillings, up from 100 shillings.
Hassan Majib, a resident of Indian quarters, says the water shortage in the municipality has complicated life as most residents use water toilets. He is worried that the water crisis might have far reaching implications to residents.
He says currently they are collecting water from the protected spring well in the neighbouring Budaka district in the areas of Kamongkoli, about 10 kilometres away from Mbale town.
According to a 2010 report from the Directorate of Water Development in the Ministry of Water and Environment, Mbale water area is the second largest in the Eastern Region after Jinja.
The area has a total population of 89,000 people, and currently serves about 63,011 people meaning that 71 percent of the population has access to the NWSC water supply services.
Currently the water Area serves Mbale Municipality, parts of Budaka District in the area of Kamonkoli and parts of Butaleja District in the areas of Kachonga and Nampologoma.
The length of the piped network is approximately 269km. The area has two treatment plants and obtains its water from Rivers Nabijjo, Manafa and Nabiryonga with a total capacity of 14,408 m³ per day and an average production capacity of 3,805 m³ per day.