SHOCKER; Floods hit Kitagata Hot springs

Amos Tayebwa
Fear and panic  has engulfed amongst  visitors and community members around the Kitagata hot springs in Kitagata town council, Sheema District. This comes  after floods hit the springs causing waters to overtake the hot springs.
All the two hots Springs have been taken over the floods. However the most affected side of the hot springs is thehe Mulago and Ekyomugabe Kitagata side.
For a long time, Water from the hot springs is believed to have healing magic that relieve people of muscular and joint pains. People from all walks of life come to the hotsprings for healing and some carry containers to take hot water back home for drinking. The place has over the years become a tourist destination. Hot spring is the major tourist attraction site for Sheema District.
Part of the Hot springs that have been badly affected
According to Enid Rubegyemera, the Chairperson Kitagata Mulago Community Hot Spring management Committee said that this incident started on Thursday last week and as the rains continue to increase, more floods keep submerging. She added that this is not for the first time such incidents have happened.
Rubegyemera said that as the management they are trying to open the drainages so that the rainy waters can get out of hot spring. That even the government had started developing it before the rains started, that currently government has got nothing to do with the development until the rains stop because they have been overpowered.
“When it rains like today, tomorrow water comes and submerge then when it does not rain for like 3-4 days the water back flows to the river and  get reduced from the hot spring,  then waters get warm and people begin to use it. But current the rain has  rained everyday, so people no longer use it in bigger numbers. However, we don’t encourage the people to go there during these days  because the rain waters have become too much”, said Rubegyemera.
Speaking to our reporter, Rubegyemera added that the Member of Parliament for Sheema South had promised that he will work together with the government to ensure that there is super development on these hot springs. That even the minister of Local Government had also promised the community that they will open streams but the development is still pending.
“I think and hope that the government will do something and do more development on these hot springs. But for us as the locals we shall continuously try to open some drainages like we have tried to reopen the part of it and when the dry season comes we shall embark on redeveloping and reopening the other parts adding on the other ones we had done as we observe those spot areas as we wait the government to come in also to support us” she added.
However, the Sheema District senior environment officer, Boaz Turyatunga Patrick attributed the incident to the ongoing wetland degradation in the districts of Bushenyi and Sheema which make up the wetland surrounding the hot springs.
“This is because the wetlands that cushion the hot springs have been grossly degraded, robbing their capacity to hold and retain water. The capacity of these remaining sections of the wetlands is very weak. We have in the past years witnessed this happening and it keeps increasing, we fear the hot springs could one time go into extinction,” he said.
Turyatunga also attributed the flooding to continued soil erosion facilitated by bare Muhito hills, rising towards the sky surrounding the hot springs.
“A lot of debris from the hills has been coming downstream and silting the wetland around the springs. In the process, water that would be flowing normally is made to bounce back and flood the space at the hot spring,” he said. Turyatunga, however, noted that plans are in place to outline preventive measures so as to protect the springs from danger.

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