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Karimojong pastoralists, Chinese firm clash over use of dam

Karimojong people go about their business (FILE PHOTO)

NAPAK – Karimojong pastoralists in Napak District on Sunday engaged in a war of words with staff of China Railway N03, a company upgrading the 175-kilometre Moroto- Soroti, over the use of Arecek water dam.

The pastoralists accused the Chinese constructors of draining the dam yet it’s the only one helping them to water their animals and for domestic use.

Simon Sagala, one of the pastoralists, said the Chinese constructors have many water tanks and each of them carries up to 20,000 liters of water and that they collect water for about 12 times day and night.

Mr. John Logit, another pastoralist, said as a result, the water levels in the dam has gone down.

“We are going to die with these Chinese over this dam because the dam is going to dry anytime should these Chinese continue collecting water from this dam with the current drought,“ he said.

Mark Lomonyang, another pastoralist, said Arecek dam is the only source of water helping the Karimojong from Napak not to cross with their livestock to the neighbouring districts in search of water.

“This dam is our saviour as per now because everyone, especially our neighbouring districts, do not want us the Karimojong to cross with our livestock to their districts. So we are now forced to look for grass here in Napak and this dam is helping us water our livestock in this current drought, “he said.

Grace Nachap, another resident, said the Chinese constructors have gone ahead to contaminate water with oil that leaks from their trucks.

“Even us the community, we don’t enter to collect water directly from the dam, we use taps, but these Chinese have gone and pushed their dirty pipe inside the dam and right now water is smelling oil where do they want us to go and get water,” she said.

But Mr. Wang Xinglu, the China railway No 3 programme manager, said the Napak district authorities okayed them to collect water from the dam at a monthly fee of Shs300,000.

Mr. Patrick Otim Omara, the district water officer, said they agreed with the Chinese to collect 10 trucks of water per day but not fetching water at night.

“I have asked the chief Administrative officer to write a letter to stop them from fetching water because they have abused the agreement,” he said.

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