For a long time now, residents of Gulu Municipality have not had a steady supply of clean water. Often times, Oyitino Dam, the town’s main source of water for over 20 years, dries up, especially during the dry season, forcing residents to turn to boreholes and other unprotected water sources.
For instance, in 2016, the dam dried to its bed, leaving thousands of people in a water crisis for nearly three weeks.
The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) currently pumps about five million litres of water per day from the dam to supply the residents.
The water is first treated from Kabedopong water treatment plant before being distributed for consumption.
However, the five million litres is also not enough for the municipality, whose population growth rate is approximately 5.2% per annum.
However, this water shortage will soon be history thanks to a new $46 million (Shs170 billion) water project that is being funded by government with support from World Bank and KfW, a German government development bank.
According to Mr Alex Gisagara, NWSC’s director Engineering Services, under the project, water will be pumped from River Nile, 72km away, to a new treatment plant that is currently under construction.
The new plant will treat an additional five million litres of water on a daily basis and all those districts along the water route from the Nile will get water.
“Whatever is in that corridor of 72km will get water and the package is about $46 million financed by the World Bank and KfW,” Mr Gisagara says.
“After five years, Gulu will be stable, we shall not have any water challenges,” he adds.
Some intermediary reservoirs will be constructed to supply all health centres and administrative units along the water pipeline.
The NWSC has over the last two years undertaken several measures to avert the water crisis in Gulu District.
In May 2017, NWSC injected Sh274 million in drilling a borehole at their site behind Kakanyero hotel.
The motorised borehole was commissioned with capacity to produce 50,000 litres of water per hour.
Officials said the site has the largest volume of water ever discovered at a single site in the country.
The borehole supplies areas of Senior Quarters, Kitgum Road, and Alur Road in Gulu Town through pumping enough water to their main supply tanks
NWSC also launched a new project dubbed, ‘Gulu Water Supply and Sanitation,’ to improve water and sewer services in the municipality and surrounding areas.
The Shs18 billion project is being undertaken by Chinese firm, Weihai International Economic and Technical Cooperation Company, on the scope of water and sanitation.
They are expected to complete the works in 18 months by upgrading and expanding the existing water treatment plant from a production capacity of four million liters to 10 million liters of water per day.
They also constructed Oitino II water reservoir to boost the capacity of Oitino I. The water works where the treatment plant exists is about 7kms from the two dams, allowing NWSC to pump water from the dam for Gulu town.