By Robert Atuhairwe
At least 30% of the households in Hoima district lack latrine facilities according to the findings by the district water and sanitation department.
The district water officer, Engineer Ibrahim Luswata, on Tuesday while revealing the water and sanitation status for the district to councilors at Kijungu Hill Hotel, said the survey was conducted in June last year in all the 12 Sub-Counties in the district.
He said sub-counties along the Lake Albert shores like Kyangwali, Kigorobya, Kabwoya and Buseruka had the lowest latrine coverage in the district.
Luswata appealed to the local leadership to sensitize residents on sanitation, increase safe water coverage and advocate for latrine construction to avoid diseases caused by poor sanitation.
He attributed the rampant cholera outbreaks to the low latrine coverage and other water borne diseases on the lake shores of recent.
Luswata said over 25% of the water sources had broken down due to vandalism of some parts. He said this financial year they plan to construct four spring wells, drill seven boreholes and rehabilitate 11 others in the water stressed sub-counties of Buseruka, Kigorobya, Kyangwali and Kabwoya.
He said they were due to complete the construction of the Rwomubazi LCI piped water project in Buhimba Sub-county.
He added that their efforts to expand water coverage in the area would be more relevant if the rampant environmental degradation due to uncontrolled cutting of trees could be addressed.
Luswata said the high rate of degradation had led to drying of some water points, especially springs.
During the same meeting the leaders also outlined strategies which they will collaboratively pursue in an effort to increase safe water coverage and sustainable sanitation in households.
Among the strategies the leaders said will give special consideration to areas with common water problems.
They also resolved to involve themselves in the formation and monitoring of water user committees at village level that would help to look after and maintain water points and intensify hand washing with soap in households.
The RDC Jean Kaliba said there was need to sensitize people especially those with corrugated iron sheet roofs to harvest rain water and avoid fetching water from swamps and ponds which is already contaminated.
She said since the discovery of oil there has been a population increase in the area due to migrants seeking opportunities in the nascent oil sector which was stressing water coverage efforts.
She said this calls for a comprehensive plan to provide safe water for this growing population which is increasing at four per cent per annum.
The district chairperson George Bagonza Tinkamanyire, said to ensure behavior change in terms of sanitation and water management the district is looking at adapting a system where communities that manage water sources well are given prizes as a way of encouraging them to continue.
He said communities who plant hedges, slash bushes promptly and maintain their water points clean will be rewarded with gifts adding that bylaws that punish nonconforming communities on sanitation were on the way.