ZOMBO. Residents of Paidha town in Zombo district have resorted to using unsafe water from surrounding unprotected springs following days of dry taps and limited alternative water sources.
A section of residents said lack of alternative sources of water like boreholes within the town has left them with no option other than dashing to the valley in search of water.
Ms. Jerose Nega, a resident of Jupanyondo East cell said water supply by the national water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has become unpredictable and this according to her, has forced most people to collect from unsafe sources.
She said the situated has been exacerbated by Paidha town council authorities' resolution to dismantle all boreholes within the town center over quality concerns.
"These days the queue at especially Solia spring has been so long that sometimes we are forced to either fetch water late night or at dawn when most people are still in bed," she said.
Nega observed that most school going children are affected by the water scarcity because they have to endure the long queue to fetch water before heading to school.
About 10 meters ahead of Solia unprotected spring stands a pit latrine which according to health experts makes the water source prone to contamination.
She implored the town council authorities to find a way of availing alternative water sources to make ends meet in case of interrupted water supply by the NWSC.
Since the resolution came into effect late last year, at least one borehole located in the center of the town was uprooted under police watch as some town dwellers that relied on it charged to block the exercise.
Mr Benson Jawia, a worker at one of the washing bays said the dismantled borehole had been their sole water source and the decision by the town council authorities to close it has a direct bearing on their work and livelihood.
"Now we have to buy water from the NWSC at shs100 per jerrycan to do our work unlike before where we only paid shs1000 shillings to the water user committee treasury a month for minor maintenance," he said.
Jawia said on average, they spend about shs5000 a day on water depending on the workload.
According to him, the borehole should be reinstalled for the sake of those who can't afford to buy water on a daily basis.
But Mr Fred Bithum, the Paidha town council health assistant said in a telephone interview on Tuesday afternoon that water from the dismantled borehole had fecal matter which made it unsafe for human consumption.
He said they went ahead to close the borehole because the nearby restaurants and homes were drawing water from it despite its being less than 4 meters from 5 different pit latrines that surround it.
"We were faced with resistance but we went ahead to seal the borehole because it was for the good of the people", he said.
Bithum said it is in government policy to close all boreholes and springs within town centers to minimize cases of water-related diseases from polluted water sources.
He said the policy still stands and more boreholes and springs will be sealed off but this will be done in phases.
Bithum urged the affected homes and people to make use of the water points brought nearer to them by the NWSC to avoid water-related diseases.
When asked to comment on the irregular water supply, the manager NWSC Paidha branch, Ms Beatrice Langiero attributed the intermittent water supply to unpredictable electricity supply and machine breakdown at one of the pump stations.
"We had few days of interrupted water supply because the generator at one of our pump stations broke down amidst irregular power supply that affected most parts of the town," she said.
Langiero said the NWSC is committed to steady water supply and making water accessible to communities in both urban and rural settings.