UGX 1.6billion Water Facility Lies Idle as 20,000 People Go Thirsty in Napak

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Water user committee of Lopei sub county in Napak district during the commisioning in 2017Residents of Lopei Sub County in Napak district in Karamoja sub-region have raised concern about their continued consumption of dirty water despite the presence of a Shillings 1.6 billion water facility jointly funded by development partners and the government of Uganda in their area.

John Lokol, the LC 1 chairperson of Lopei village told URN that in 2016 the government in partnership with UNICEF and GIZ constructed a water facility worth 1.6billion in the area to help them access safe clean water. He, however, says that the facility worked for one year and broke down. 

“I am one of the members of the water user committee of this project. I remember when the government handed over the facility to the Karamoja Umbrella organization, the system broke down. We have kept on asking what went wrong but nobody has offered us an explanation,” he said.   

Lokol said they have made several calls to Karamoja Umbrella organization but they have kept on dodging them. He explains 23,000 people in Lopei walk a distance of between 13 to 20 kilometers looking for drinking water in other sub-counties.

Amos Lemukol, the in-charge of Lopei health centre III told URN that between January to February, he had to close the health center due to lack of water but opened it after seeing people suffering with nowhere to go for treatment. “We used to have water here at the facility when the Ministry of Water handed over the facility to Karamoja water Umbrella organization in 2017. But within one year the system failed to work,” he said.  

According Dr. Lemukol, currently patients carry water to the health center. Mathew Locoro, the Lopei Sub County LC 3 chairperson, says that he has made several calls to Karamoja water Umbrella Organisation about the water problem but no action has been taken.

“Whenever I call them they promise to come and have kept on promising us now five years nobody has come to repair the system,” he said. Patrick Ocero, the manager of Karamoja Water umbrella organization has not yet commented and he could neither pick his phone nor respond to texts from our reporter.

Graces Nachap, a village health educator in Lopei Sub County, says the lack of clean water is making it hard for families there to maintain proper hygiene. “Most families had embraced proper hygiene practice. People had started bathing; washing hands and plates but without water life is hard,” she said. 

Joseph Lomonyang, the Napak LC V Chairperson, says they will discuss the issue in their district executive committee meeting on Thursday and come up with resolutions.  “The situation is bad especially in Lopei Sub County; all boreholes have broken down,” he said.