ARUA. The deputy managing director (technical) of national water and sewerage corporation (NWSC) Eng. Johnson Amayo has explained that pumping water for Arua town from river Nile is possible but too expensive.
He also said with a better environmental protection and a long-term plan to construct dams downstream river Enyau, the town can be assured of steady water supply for more than 50 years.
This he said in addition to the over 6million litres daily underground capacity from production wells that have greatly helped to supplement the existing supply from the river.
“Many people have talked about river Nile as an option and in my opinion it’s technically possible because with engineers we can even build a castle in the lake, but the question would be how much it costs to run the system?”, Amayo asked.
“One of the problems is that the western part of West Nile is on a ridge; all rivers on one side are flowing towards the Nile and the others flowing to Congo River so we have a ridge.”
“We are about 600m above river Nile and to supply water from there, you need pumps that can pump up to 800 or 900m which is pretty expensive and that’s why we are focusing on ground water through production wells that are doing great,” he said at least for the short term.
Eng Amayo revealed that a feasibility study has also been done to build multipurpose dams along river Enyau in the long run to trap the water enough for the area.
He said the one-million-dollar project to restore the catchment areas up stream river Enyau was in the offing and would help restore the water, appealing to local leaders to mobilize the community to embrace the project.
The project will focus on restoring the environment cover and wetlands by minimising agricultural activities at the river banks.
Amayo was speaking during a regional evaluation workshop comprising the East and Northern Uganda areas and management team at Eri Park resort in Arua on Thursday.
The biannual meeting is a platform to evaluate the progress, achievements and challenges in different areas set forth at the beginning of a specific period.
“There are many parameters that are looked at and agreed on at the onset of the financial year and against that target, you are evaluated on how much you have achieved. If you perform to the standards, you are rewarded and if you don’t do well, then you are reprimanded and this acts as a wakeup call to every staff towards performance improvement,” Mr Badru Wanduasi, the host area manager explained the importance of the biannual workshop.
Commenting on the initiative to restore the river catchment area, Arua district chairman Mr Sam Wadri Nyakua promised support in mobilizing the local community.
“There was a time when the river dried and a Jerrycan of water was being sold at Shs2000 and above and that’s when people realised that the river indeed had been important, so be assured of our support as local leaders”, Mr Nyakua promised.
The Arua area has a current ground water capacity of close to 6 million litres per day and the plant is designed to produce 14 million litres daily.