By Agnes Nantambi
Leaders from five sub-counties in Lamwo and Kitgum districts declined to take over water supply projects extended to their areas by the Ministry of Water and Environment, citing lack of security for the facilities.
The projects are in Lagoro and Namukora sub-counties in Kitgum as well as Madi-Opei, Paroga and Palabek-Ogiri sub-counties in Lamwo.
The projects constructed under the Energy for Rural Transformation phase 2 project with support from the World Bank, use solar panels to power the pumping of water from the boreholes to the reservoir tanks and to supply taps.
After commissioning of the sh2.7b project at Madi-Opei sub-county headquarters recently, the leaders highlighted lack of security for the solar equipment, saying they did not have the capacity to provide security.
The project is part of the $8.9m of (about sh22.25b) water component the World Bank funded through the energy ministry and was contracted to Communications and Accessories Ltd.
“We are not ready to receive the water schemes because we are not sure of the security. If one solar panel is stolen, it can lead to the collapse of the entire system, which can affect the water supply to the people,” said Richard Okuna, the Madi-Opei sub-county chief.
The area LC3 chairman, Charles Obong Okwera, noted that solar panels were on high demand in the region yet they have no security for the facilities.
The issue of security for the facilities came up after the contractor said the beneficiaries were responsible for their safety.
However, the Lamwo district LC5 chairman, Matthew Ochen, said the district council would work on the security.
Richard Matua, the principal engineer in the Ministry of Water and Environment who commissioned the five schemes, asked the contractor to co-operate and take charge of security for this month as a solution is being sought.
“As a ministry, we have delivered, so please maintain the schemes well and guard them jealously,” he said.
Matua also asked the northern umbrella for water and sanitation to train the district water boards to start collecting money to sustain the schemes.