Residents of Okuma and Chakali villages in Nyakumba Parish, Ragem Sub-county in Pakwach District, are celebrating as they are now connected to a piped water supply. This development comes after years of experiencing cholera outbreaks due to contaminated water sources like streams, which were often shared with animals.
For the residents, like Ms. Gloria Owachi, this access to piped water is a significant relief. She explained that in her 36 years of living in the area, obtaining clean water had been a constant challenge. People in the villages frequently faced cholera because they had no choice but to drink untreated water from streams shared with animals.
Another resident, Mr. Nelson Kitaga, highlighted the hardships they endured in fetching water. Men would need to ride bicycles for three kilometers to the River Nile just to get water. Additionally, a jerrycan of water from the borehole previously cost them Shs2,000.
However, their situation has now changed. The two villages can access clean water from 12 public standpoints. This transformation was made possible through the efforts of African Water Solution (AWS), a non-profit organization, which provided a solar-powered water project for the villages. Before this, the communities had relied on shallow wells and dirty water from the River Nile, leading to waterborne diseases, particularly among children.
Mr. Geoffrey Abara, the district assistant water officer, highlighted the importance of this project in improving the health and well-being of the communities. The district chief administration officer, Mr. Moses Ondyemoli, also pledged to form a committee to safeguard the water source and ensure the continued availability of clean water. Their goal is to transform these cholera-prone villages into model communities with the help of African Water Solutions.
Ms. Colleens Pimer, the Africa Water Solutions program facilitator for West Nile Sub-region, shared that the project cost Shs700 million, and each household will contribute Shs3,000 for routine maintenance of the water supply. Currently, statistics show that out of the total district population of about 211,500, only 122,500 people have access to clean and safe water.