High Utility Bills, Broken Pipes Frustrate Buhimba Water System

1457 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
David Atuhura, the Buhimba Sub county LC III chairperson says the water flow is often cut off due to broken pipes and accumulated water bills.

High utility bills and broken pipes are affecting the operations of Buhimba piped water project in Hoima district. The water project cost Hoima district local government a whooping UGX 500M.
It serves a population of over 1000 residents in Buhimba East, West and Central. Despite the fact that, the water system started working two years ago, the water flow has been irregular because of broken pipes and unbearable power bills.
David Atuhura, the Buhimba Sub county LC III chairperson says the water flow is often cut off due to broken pipes and accumulated water bills. Atuhura says the project is meant to be self-sustaining but this is never the case because the power bills are always over and above the money realized from users.
He says on average they collected UGX 800, 000 each month, but the power bills are always in millions. He cites the latest scenario where the Sub County was issued a power bill to the tune of UGX 2.7million.

Atuhura says the sub county failed to raise the money leading to the disconnection of power to the water plant for three months until the district came in to help settle the bill about a month ago.

Although water is flowing now, Atuhura suspects an exaggeration of the power bills and wants the district water office to follow up the matter with Umeme.

//Cue in: "This system…
Cue out: ….with the district."//

The irregular water flow in Buhimba Sub County has always led to a crisis resulting into a hike in the price of water and unbearable queues at the few water sources. Michael Asiimwe, a resident of Buhimba town says whenever water is off; vendors double the price of a jerry can of water to UGX 800 from 300.

Asiimwe notes that on top of the hiked water prices, he is also meant to service a water bill even when he does not use the water. Ibrahim Luswata, the Hoima district water engineer admits that the water flow in Buhimba is often interrupted by broken pipes and unbearable power bills.

Luswata says however says that all pipes were replaced by the contractor during the six months of the project defects liability period. He says this is no longer a problem now. On power bills, the engineer said it was only a matter of self-sustainability.

He says the district has earmarked UGX 17million to increase the water connections from the current 50 to 100. He says with this, the number of water users will increase and the project will be self-sustaining. 

The engineer however remained non-committal on whether the power bills were inflated or not as alleged by the sub county chairman. Umeme has not yet commented on the matter as our reporter couldn't reach the area officials by the time of filing this story.