Issues of ineffectiveness seem to be out of the way in Rakai district this year. The start of the year has seen district officials grill the staff of National Water and Sewerage Corporation for the incompetence in their work bribery and the hike of water prices.
The officials led by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Solomon Ssonko reacted harshly in a meeting that was held this week at the district headquarters.
The meeting was attended by councilors responsible for handling the water department and Sub County Chiefs who were all angry over the incompetence of the company.
These were reacting to comments that were being made by Clare Namatovu about the plans the company had in distributing clean, safe and cheap water to the people of Rakai district.
Namatovu said the Ministry of Water and Natural Resources in conjunction with National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) are aiming at providing the best water services in the whole district.
According to Namatovu, the ministry is yet to start a three year programme known as Service Acceleration Project (SCAP 100) which will be able to supply water to most of the towns in the district.
The first beneficiary towns will include Kyotera, Rakai Town Council, Mutukula, Kakuuto, Ssanje and Kalisizo. Some of these towns have been supplied with water before but extensions will be made to the nearby villages.
Namatovu further explained that people in villages have always suffered in walking long distances as they also face unclean water which exposes them to contagious diseases.
“We want all villages connected to the towns in the entire district to have got clean piped water by 2020”, she explained.
However, as she requested for the reactions of the officials from the meeting, most of the officials asked questions regarding hiking of prices yet water is a basic need that one ought to have.
Stephene Ssebunya the Kakuuto LC III Chairperson questioned Namatovu as to why anyone constructing a building is charged commercially and not as a domestic user in consuming the water.
“I think in any business entity, the more quantity one purchases, the lower the price of the commodity. How come it is vice versa when it comes to your company”, he asked.
According to the NWSC tariff structure, a jerry can of water for domestic use is sold at shs52 and shs79 for commercial use.
The tariffs of one constructing a house change from commercial to domestic charge yet not all buildings being constructed are really commercial.
Agness Namusiitwa the district Vice Chairperson requested for a reduction on prices that government institutions get the water.
“We have poor women who can’t buy over three jerry cans of water per day at shs500 if she’s to spend a week at the hospital. This is because the health workers can’t provide water to the patients due to your high prices”, said Namusiitwa.
She added that Universal Primary Education schools should also have the water cheaply because such children can end up using dirty and contaminated water which in the long run leads to diseases.
Namatovu vowed to deal with incompetent employers and also raise the officials’ concerns about the water prices to her bosses.
The Kakuuto County MP, Christopher Kalemba urged Namatovu and her team to sensitise people in villages about any programmes that the NWSC could be about to implement.
He said people in villages know nothing about road reserves yet technical people from ministries tend to say they have to follow them while carrying out constructions.