By Simon Turibamwe
Charles Okuonzo the Jinja area National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) Manager, has explained the cause of water shortage that has hit some parts of Njeru Municipality for close to two months, blaming it on the ongoing road construction that has left a 10km pipe cut off. In his email sent to this news website on Thursday afternoon, Okuonzo explained that water supply along Nyenga road especially in Kiryowa, Kafunta and Buzika was affected by UNRA-SBI road works on Nyenga-Katosi road that left 10km pipe cut off leaving a number of customers disconnected. He said that his team was equally shocked to woke up and found that their transmission pipes were cut into pieces and water disconnected by SBI (a road construction company on Nyenga-Katosi road) instead of relocating them or notifying the Water body for an alternative solution. He added that NWSC is already pursuing for financial compensation from SBI construction company whose unprofessional instructors destroyed pipes and disconnected customers from water supply. He emphasized that: “We woke up one day shocked to find that SBI had graded-off all our transmission lines (over 10kms) yet they are supposed to have relocated the lines before undertaking any road works. This unprofessional act has affected our customers and caused us financial loss which we are pursuing compensation through legal means.” Okuonzo said that NWSC has been forced to lay parallel pipes stretching over 10kms, changing them and transferring customers from the old lines to new ones.
He adds that the installment of the 10kms pipe works will be finished in two-weeks’ time. Okuonzo further noted that efforts are underway to save customers on the hilly ends of Njeru especially in upper Kyabagu, Ntinda Upper, and upper Namwezi whose supply has been much affected by power cuts by upgrading of the main pump from Namiya to Namwezi which is expected to be complete within 2 weeks. Okuonzo optimistically said that: “We have customers on the hilly ends of Njeru especially in upper Kyabagu, Upper Ntinda and upper Namwezi whose supply has been much affected by power cuts. As you know, water will always flow where it wants to flow and will flow downstream. As a solution, we are yet to complete upgrading of the pumping main from Naminya to Namwezi hill tank and within 2 weeks’ time we will transfer affected customers on the hilly parts to this line and solve the problems of our people once and for all.”
Okuonzo faulted the politicians especially the Njeru Central division vice Chairperson Mr. Fayizo Namayuba for alarming the situation by blaming without appreciating the efforts in place and what has been done so far to rectify the problem. He said that whereas Namayuba Fayizo is blaming NWSC for shortage of water which is not its problem, his council (Namayuba’s) has also not helped it’s voters by turning down NWSC’s request for the water tank owned by the Municipality which is laying idle in the stores despite of endless pleads. “NWSC has been pleading with Namayuba’s council to give out that tank which lying idle to the community so that we can be able to boost water supply in the area, but they refused without considering their voters’ need,” said Okuonzo. He wondered how a full elected person like Namayuba would trade in blames without verifying what is exactly on ground or the origin of the problem.
“While the Vice chair Fayizo Namayuba is busy blaming NWSC which isn’t by itself a problem, he is much aware that there is an idle council-owned tank in the municipality which his council has failed to handover to NWSC to improve water supply despite countless appeals,” said Okuonzo. On earlier claims that the water shortage is due to lack of a reservoir tank in the area, Okuonzo dismissed it saying that a 197,000-liter tank has been erected at and is well supplying customers in Kizungu cell. “We installed a second 197,000-liter tank to serve our customers in Kizungu cell and therefore it can’t be true that NWSC has failed to install a second tank and yet most of our customers are now getting water from that second tank. We are working to transfer the rest of the customers to that tank,” said Okuonzo.
He added his team is working 24 hours in attempt to upgrade Masese water works, adding four new pumps, increasing filtration capacity and laying a new 4m- 12inch pumping main from Masese plant to Rubaga tank which will add over 5million liters per day and this will eliminate all supply challenges in the hilly parts of Njeru by the end of June 2019. Information available indicates that Njeru currently uses about 3million liters per day and an addition of 1m liters will keep taps flowing 24/7 according Okuonzo.
MUST TO BILL
He urged the customers to cooperate with the water staff when they come to their premises for billing because there is no staff who will attempt to record false information to bill the customer. He explained that NWSC uses the on-spot billing technology where meter readings are taken direct from the site and that if a meter has not registered any reading, then the customer will only have a bill indicating zero consumption, a small service charge of Shs1,770 and any outstanding balances carried forward. He also noted that service fee is often written off where there is proof of zero units consumed but, if the customer has unpaid monies, they will still demand payment for water that was already consumed regardless of the prevailing supply status. Early this week we reported on this news website that Njeru residents were accusing the NWSC for continual issuance of water bills in the area yet their taps dried up two months ago. For comments, call or text us on 0752510225.