By Moses Agaba
The Ministry of Water and Environment on Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022 officially handed over the Ugx 51Bn Kahengye water project to National Water and Sewerage Corporation in a colorful function held at the site in Kebisoni town council, Rukungiri district.
Alfred Okoti Okidi the Ministry of Water and Environment Permanent Secretary officially received the documentation and all the relevant documentation from the contractor that he later on handed over to Eng. Francis Kateeba, the NWSC branch manager Mbarara area and technical Advisor Ankole Region who represented Dr. Eng. Silver Mugisha the Corporation’s Managing Director.
Okidi apologized for the delay in project completion and appreciated the teamwork exhibited by Rukungiri District leadership in ensuring proper monitoring of the project until today as it was being handed over to the NWSC.
Okidi asked stakeholders to ensure the protection of the catchment area to ensure constant and continuous water supply from the contractors (Techno Fab Company Ltd, VIDAS and VAMBECO) for quality work done despite the delays.
According to him, the project is expected to ensure water supply to the intended communities in Rukungiri District and parts of Ntungamo district up to 2040 hence encouraging the community to desist from vandalizing the equipment and to rather protect the system.
“Let us protect this system so that it delivers the intended service. The issue of the Environment! Protection should not forget the Catchment area of Kahengye river from the districts of Ankole and Kigezi region and this is everyone’s responsibility to have it protected” said PS.
He tasked NWSC to think about extending this water to many areas since its capacity can serve beyond the current numbers and asked the water consumers to ensure paying for the service to help the corporation serve better and says, the newly commissioned and handed over project should help to ease the burden of water-borne diseases in the district by 85%.
Eng. Francis Kateeba on behalf of NWSC pledged their commitment to take on the mantle from the Ministry of Water and Environment in ensuring that the project can now equip residents with clean, safe, and constant water supply in their homes.
Kateeba added that since water is currently available in the tanks, their role is now to extend it to communities so that they enjoy clean and safe water.
He added that their goal as National Water and Sewerage Corporation is having as many connections as they can since this can ease the cost of operations.
The Rukungiri district boss Godfrey Kyomukama tasked the residents to safeguard the project so that it can serve the intended purpose for a long time.
Kyomukama attributed the delay in the completion of the project to the theft of equipment as well as other technical issues between the government and the contractor.
Stephen Bewayo Nsubuga the Rukungiri District Resident Commissioner appreciated the contractor for the quality work done despite delays stressing that it’s a big achievement to the government as it moves to avail quality services to its people.Bewayo also cautioned the community against vandalism of the equipment which might throw them back to dark days.
Eng. Niwamanya Herbert the Assistant Commissioner for Urban water in the Ministry of Water and Environment noted that their efforts to avail residents of clean and safe water on time were hampered by the contractor (TECHNOFAB) who took more than the anticipated period.
Eng. Niwamanya added that now the Ministry is going to work hand in hand with National Water and sewerage corporation to extend water to users in Rukungiri and Ntungamo Districts.
The handover function was witnessed by a number of Rukungiri District Political and technical staff, Kebisoni Town council and sub-county leaders, National water and sewerage corporation staff as well as officials from the Ministry of Water and Environment.
The over Ugx 51Bn water project with funding from the World Bank and the government of Uganda kicked off in July 2016 and was undertaken by an Indian firm, Technofab Engineering Services. It was expected to be completed by September 2017.
The scheme is expected to benefit 120,000 people in Rukungiri and Ntungamo districts.