The Ministry of Water and Environment has re-echoed its commitment to providing 100% water coverage in the country by 2030.
Eng. Ian Arebahona, the Principal Engineer at the Ministry made the reassurance last Thursday while presiding over the commissioning of Big Size Stone Masonry Rainwater Harvesting Tanks at School for Life Foundation, Mbazzi in Muduuma Sub-County, Mpigi District.
“Safe water coverage in rural areas stands at 70%. Plans are to have 100% coverage by 2040. However, the Ministry doesn’t have funding to reach every household. These pockets (30%) can be bridged by rainwater,” he said.
He however stressed that in order to achieve the above by 2030, priorities of rural people will have to change in a bid to speed up the safe water extension process.
“We hope to achieve 100% coverage by 2030 but through other development partners, we can accelerate this process. We (Ministry have been grappling with small rainwater tanks, some people got discouraged. However, our priorities as rural people will have to change. We can explore other avenues such as Operation Wealth Creation. In my village, people are asking for heifers but as a community, we can sit down and say we need a water tank. That way, we can speed up this process,” he said.
He however said the Big Size Stone Masonry Rainwater Harvesting Tanks technology comes in handy in the country’s interest to achieve Universal Access to Safe and clean water.
That said, he warned: “We need a very frank discussion on the quality, cost and affordability. We (Ministry is ready to take keen interest in the service-per-person-cost”
According to Uganda Muslim Rural Development Association, the implementers of the technology, the innovation is a) appropriate for water stressed areas b)applies in any location with rainwater, Water User Committees can be put in place c) can act as income generating activity, d)appropriate for schools and that e) solar energy can be installed to help in pumping water.
Yunia Musazizi, the Executive Director, Uganda Water and Sanitation NGO Network while giving her address gave thumps-up to UMURDA adding that as UWASNET, they will work with the Muslim organization in scaling the innovation to the rest of the country.
Mpigi District Resident District Commissioner Swaib Wagwa Lubega while speaking at the same event cautioned locals against vandalism.
“Jealously guard this property here. You are responsible to make sure that nothing here is vandalized. Own these things. We need more and more assistance because our district is needy,” he said.
UMURDA, the organization implementing Big Size Stone Masonry Rainwater Harvesting Tanks in Uganda has the capacity to build up to 1, 000, 000-liter water tank.
In fact, Mbazzi’s three tanks have a capacity to store 500, 000 liters each during the rainy season and can then be used to a period of between two and five months of long dry spells, serving a population of over 1, 000 people.
-By Francis Otucu