The new NWSC water supply project at 70% complete is set to serve over 170,000 people in Sembabule district

There was infrastructural water inefficiencies in the water supply system in Sembabule district with frequent pipe bursts, use of pond water by the communities, high cost of water by vendors among other challenges.

SEMBABULE: Communities in Sembabule district are to yield benefits of clean water, fair tariffs and expanded water consumption as a new water supply system nears completion.

The project is set to serve several sub-counties where over 170,000 people will benefit from the sh 14.3 Billion water supply project.

The project fully funded by National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) is aimed at increasing water production and access by upgrading and extending the water distribution network in Sembabule town and the surrounding areas and towns.

The need for the project in Sembabule:

The project located at Kyojja, in Sembabule town adjacent to River Kyojja, according to Engineer Denis Taremwa, the Project Manager, was born out of the need realized in Sembabule town where there was infrastructure inefficiencies in the water supply system including limited water supply, poor water  pipes network, unharnessed river water, expensive water by vendors, use of runoff pond water for domestic use among other challenges.

“When National Water and Sewerage Corporation took over water supply operations in Sembabule, many interventions were made,  we realized the water supply was only covering a small part of Sembabule town, the surrounding was in a sorry state, we found a inefficiencies in the water supply infrastructure, with frequent water pipe bursts, water vendors sold a jerrycan between Ugx 500 to Ugx 1000” he said

Engineer Albert Edema explaining how the Water Clarifier will operate at the Kikoma Treatment plant.

In an interview with Engineer Denis,   he says that the project idea  was adopted  in 2018 while civil works started in May 2020 conducted as disclosed by the sign board in picture above by Zhonghao Overseas Construction Engineering Limited, which he said is at 70% completion rate. He said that some of the components were awarded to local contractors including workers, local materials like sand, iron bars, pipes, marrum, cement among others.

The engineer said that  he is optimistic that when the remaining imported  materials from China, UK, and France arrives to complement the local components, the civil works will be complete in May 2021 on scheduled

Local funding the best option:

The project according to Eng. Denis was fully fund died by  NWSC sourced from water sales and surplus revenue which he said is always invested into production and expansion and that the project was  designed and is being supervised by NWSC.

“We embarked on the accelerated network intensification programme, we have laid 100km pipes in Sembabule and the surrounding areas to replace the small pipes, the treatment plant under construction will care for both current and future supply needs, we are targeting 170,000 people. Now civil works are at 70% waiting for importation of tanks, pipes, and electrical material which are at different stages of being delivered at the site” he said

Challenges:

Eng. Denis said that although there have been challenges including COVID-19, elections period, the bad rainy season which delayed works, the implementation has kept going on.

“COVID-19 period, election period affected implementation, they have delayed the importation, and some workers took long to return to work after elections, but we hope to catch up with the lost time” he said

Infrastructure assurance report:

According to the findings of the  4th Assurance report conducted by CoST Uganda on The Sembabule Water Supply Improvement project under NWSC, the project was signed in March 2020 and handed over to the contractor in May 2020. Civil works started in May 2020 expected to be completed in May 2021. The project was funded 100% by National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC).

In the recommendations made by the report, they urged government to enhance domestic funding to avoid unfavorable donor conditions on loans.

Government through NWSC has funded 100% for Sembabule water project. There is need for government to increase efforts in funding the projects in order to avoid grants and loans that have strict project fu ding conditions “ the report partly reads.

In the findings of the report aimed at enhancing tranasparency, accountability in public  infrastrusture projects, ranked NWSC as one of the best information disclosing entity scoring 55% for proactive and 100% for reative discloser.

During a site visit in Kikoma Treatment plant in Sembabule district in picture above, Engineer Abert Edma, the resident Site Engineer explained that given the capacity of of the treatment plant of 3 million litres pwe day compared to the current population, the plant will serve the communities in Sembabule or over 20 years before operating to full capacity. He said that the communities who are characterised by cattle farmers, business people, crop farmers will boost their production.

“The treatment plant production capacity is 3000 cubic metres per day. This design is projected for a horizon period of minimum 20 years. Once the production starts the plant will serving below production capacity but as the population rises over time, the consumption will match production “he said

While in another site at the  main reservoir tank situated on the hill in Sembabule town, Engineer Albert says that they have increased the size up to  ten times bigger that the precious tank. He says that the combination of the main reservoir tank, the treatment plant, the 3 boosters, the raw water intake plant and the pipeline system will sole the water challenge in Sembabule especially the business community, the cattle farmers, house hold, crop farmers among other beneficiaries.

Among the sub counties Eng. Albert  pointed out as beneficiaries of the new water supply system includes; Lugusulu, Mateete, Mabindo, Mwijwara, Lwebitakulu among other sub-counties.

“The production capacity of this water supply system will benefit both people and animals. It’s envisaged once the system becomes operation water supply problem will be fully solved in Sembabule. There will be no reason why Sembabule can’t take off” he narrated.

Eng. Abert however said that the project has faced the challenge of land acquisition especially the resistance and hiking of prices by land owners which he says is delaying the project, as negotiations with them through local leaders take much time.

In a separate interview, the NWSC MD Eng. Silver Mugisha(in photo bellow) said in order to step-up water production and improve water supply reliability and service coverage, NWSC initiated the systematic rehabilitation, upgrade and expansion of infrastructure through annual Infrastructure Service Delivery Plans (ISDP) and Water Stabilization Plans (WSP).

He said these two initiatives aim at providing for network expansion and reducing water supply shortages in the short to medium term. During the FY2015/16 over 900Kms of water and 18.5Kms of sewer mains were extended in different parts of the country.

“In the last two and a half Years alone, NWSC extended over 2,805Kms of water mains under the program. This is a transformational re-alignment of strategy considering that the corporation used to extend an average of less than 80kms per year. At this pace of infrastructure growth, the Corporation will be able to double the size of its current network in the next 4 years” Eng. Mugisha added

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