“This is the only water source in the two sub-counties of Muramba and Nyarusiza and must be guarded well."
PIC: A resident carries two jerricans after fetching water. (Credit: Wilson Manishimwe)
The first phase of the sh600m Jinya Water Project in Kisoro district is nearly complete, with as many as 4,000 people gaining from it every day.
The project, located in Gisozi Parish, Muramba sub-county, was established through fundraising spearheaded by Kisoro Foundation for Rural Development, a local NGO, and Bufumbira South MP Sam Bitangaro.
Other notable individuals who supported the initiative are Pius Bigirimana, the permanent secretary of the ministry of labour and social development as well as Moses Mugisha, the proprietor of Leading Distillers Limited.
According Eng. Erisa Nsabiyera, the project coordinator and site engineer, over sh70m has so far been spent on the first phase. He said the money was spent through protection of the existing Jinya water source through establishment of tap stands, reservoir and sedimentation tanks.
This phase involved separating people’s fetching area from the animals’ drinking area.
“The project is under three phases and is expected to end in 2020. There are plans of extending the water to other parts of the sub-county such as Muramba Church of Uganda, Muramba Health Centre III under gravitational force,” said Nsabiyera.
Area MP Sam Bitangaro (standing half-akimbo) during the site visit
Previously, people would use hoes and sticks to dig around the source until water oozed out of the soil. At times, water would be dirty due to the fact that people would fetch at the same point that cattle would also drink from.
“At times people could fight and injure each other in the scramble for water. The source has been there for years but many hadn’t thought of protecting this water for the benefit of communities.”
Sam Bitangaro, the area (Bufumbira South constituency) MP, said the fundraising for the water project was launched in December 2016 in Kampala where in one night over sh60m was raised, but the total cost of phase one is about sh100m.
He told New Vision that after completion, over 1,000 families in the villages of Gatwe, Gishondori Kabuhoro, Cyana, Nyabikenke, Bitare, and Cyana among others in Muramba, Nyarusiza sub-counties and parts of Eastern DR Congo are set to benefit from the multimillion water project.
“The second phase will take sh200m and the third one will take sh300m. After completion, it will be handed over to Muramba sub-county to be managed by the sub-county water user committee,” he said, adding that the sub-county offered free land for the extension of the project.
Bitangaro said so far people have started realizing the importance of project. He said it has saved people from the overwhelming effects of fetching water contaminated by animal droppings.
“The district water department also carries out technical supervision of the project an indication that even after the completion it’s able to ensure the survival of the project,” he said.
Innocent Ndagije (pictured above), the Kisoro Foundation for Rural Development executive director, said the cooperation between the organisation, local leaders and residents has ensured the success of the project.
“This organisation also implements many projects in rural areas such as supporting students with school fees, construction of bridges among others. People must love and guard jealously the project," he said.
Francis Nzabona, the Muramba sub-county LCIII chairman, told New Vision that the sub-county council will soon sit and set a budget aimed at enhancing the future survival of the water project.
“This is the only water source in the two sub-counties of Muramba and Nyarusiza and must be guarded well. We shall do all it takes to keep it safe,” said Nzabona.
Resident Harriet Iraguha cannot hide her delight over the new water project
'We are happy about it'
Robert Rukara, a resident of Gishondori village, said people are relieved from fetching dirty water. He said previously, only able-bodied people could get water from that water source.
“We are happy about it and I’m sure even locals will do their best to guard it,” he said, adding that it's been two months since that they started collecting water from the point.
Harriet Iraguha, a resident of Gitowa village, said people should monitor themselves and report any wrong element as regard the water project. Her worry is that unruly people might damage the fence and vandalize the taps.
Kisoro is one of the water-stressed districts in Uganda, with 40% coverage. Water is concentrated in the northern and eastern parts of the district whereas in Bufumbira South it's common for people to walk over 7km in search of water.
The main source of water is Chuyo Spring in Bufumbira East and existing lakes such as Mutanda, Mulehe and Chahafi among others.