Saturday, November 22, 2014

Water, water everywhere...

..but not a clean drop to drink. It has been raining in Kampala all week whilst we have been in Amuria District.

It normally never rains in November; the locals explain this is due to climate change.

The slums are situated in the low part of Kampala where the run off from the seven hills surrounding the city converge to swill the rubbish,mud and sewage into the family homes made of board, corrugated iron and old wood.

Drainage channels have been built in some areas to carry the dirty water to the main river which offer benefits in normal weather. But with no electric lights and few crossing points it is hard to see these channels in times of flood.  Just whilst we were there we witnessed a body search for two women and a child all carried away by the water and assumed dead.

Upstream from the contaminated water tap
There are few latrines in the slums and some water taps. We watch a line of children queue up to fill their jerry cans with contaminated water; the dirty flood waters  which have percolated into the high water table beneath their feet.

Contaminated Water

Children play at building a dam in the water spilled from the tap, mixing with mud and sewage. I think of my own kids  having fun doing the same thing on beach holidays without the fear of cholera.

There is clean water but it costs 500 schillings for 20 litres. 100 litres would use up half the average daily income of $1.3 a day. In the UK daily water demand is around 140 litres per day per person. The clean water is sold by vendors from a private piped connection.

The Ugandan National Water and Sewerage company (NWSC) are seeking to address the sanitation and water issues in the slums with community leaders and other partners including  WaterAid.

There are some success stories, we saw a public water pre paid meter which looked a little like a petrol pump. Users are given a token which they top up with an agent locally. They can draw clean, safe water from the pump any time day or night at 25 schillings for 20 litres a massive saving from 500 schillings. Its not only the pocket which benefits but health and economy in areas where these pumps are available.  NWSC with help from WaterAid and other donors plan to install more.

So I am writing this on the last day of the supporters trip. If you want to find out more about WaterAids work or make a donation please visit

Please continue to look at my blog as I will be posting photos and reflections upon return to the UK. Thank you.

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