In a bid to save river Enyau the only river that serves the entire Arua Town with water, National Environmental Management Authority NEMA wants all people carrying activities along the river to be evicted.
As the rains come back, the last three months have been marred with water crisis in Arua after the source of river Enyau partly dried up. This is because the water has been diverted to gardens.
Dr. Tom Okurut the Executive Director National Environment Management Authority NEMA has directed leaders of Arua district to evict people who are carrying activities along river Enyau.
Dr. Okurut says the most important thing now is to protect the source of Enyau by removing people who have built houses and carry farming. He says much as the river will come back after rain, the water source and other streams that join the river need to be protected.
Dr. Okurut observes that much as the evictions might irritate the affected people, the decision should to be taken up to protect the river for future purpose.
Dr. Okurut says if a decision is not taken now, Enyau will become a seasonal river and the impact will be grave on environment.
Joachim Andiandu the environment officer Arua says the district already started marking the 30 meter buffer zone from the river to stop people from carrying activities like farming, building houses.
He says, the already marked areas ran from Onduparaka to Awindiri where mark stones have been constructed. This will be extended to the source of Enyau in Oruvu village Ezuku parish Vurra Sub County.
According to Andiandu, houses built along the river 30 meter buffer zone will be demolished. He advised that, the recommended activities to be done are planting trees and pasture for animals to conserve the environment.
Genesis Acema the LC5 vice chairman Arua says because of the dry spot at River Enyau source, the people are facing acute water crisis.
He says the water crisis is due to the destruction at the source of river Enyau which needs to be addressed with agency. The river has been diverted to different gardens prepared for crops like potatoes, greens, yams, maize, and sugar cane among others.
Mary Candiru is a resident of Oruvu village Ezuku parish in Vurra Sub County where the source of river Enyau is located and says much as they have gardens along the river sides, they are also faced with water shortages since this year's water has dried compared to the previous years.
Candiru explains that, they have decided to divert the water into the gardens for their crops to grow. She says much as the leaders are blaming them, they have not blocked the water source but because they need water for farming, they chose to divert the river to the gardens.
She says the district official's way back visited the source of river Enyau and planned to fence the area but since then nothing has been done. The locals were warned to stop carrying activities along the river but nobody has since obeyed the directive as farming and construction is still done along the river side.
Melani Maturu is an old woman living along Uganda DRC border where the source of river Enyau is located and says the locals in Vurra Customs are currently fetching spring water from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo which water source is said to be contaminated.
She says since the source of river Enyau has dried up, government needs to construct a borehole for the people living along the source of river Enyau as a solution to bar them from relying on the river.
Within Arua town, people accessing water from the piped water system spend weeks without water and are forced to buy a jerrican of water at 1000 shillings as women spend more than three hours at the available water points