The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa inspected the Shs1.2 trillion water project in Katosi and hailed the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) as a model in improved service delivery to Ugandans.
Tayebwa who visited the water plant in Mukono District on Wednesday, 08 November 2023 applauded NWSC management for proper use of the Euro 300 million loan which was approved by Parliament.
The new facility at Katosi is a pumping station, treatment plant and the reservoir.
“I want to congratulate the NWSC, the Ministry of Water and Environment and government at large for the absorption of this loan. I am really glad the project has been completed. We have loans of 2011 and have gone just 10 per cent of work completed,” said Tayebwa.
Tayebwa said that he was happy that the modern water treatment plant at Katosi has an installed capacity of treating 160 million litres of water pumped from Lake Victoria.
He was however, concerned with the underutilization of the water with only 52 per cent of treated water being released to the community in the Kampala metropolitan areas.
“We have been told that 48 per cent of the total capacity is still underutilized and we have money lying idle. It is of concern to find that water can be pumped, is available and you find people have no water," he added.
This was after NWSC Executive Director, Dr. Silver Mugisha informed the Deputy Speaker that over Shs241.2 billion remains on the account because there is need for a Shs181 billion top up to be able to complete the installation of a 15 million litre water reservoir at Matugga with hope to cover most parts of Wakiso District.
Impressed with the utilization of the loan which himself as a former member of the Committee on the National Economy in the 10th Parliament supported, the Deputy Speaker promised to guide the legislators when the request for additional funding to NWSC comes in the next budget cycle.
“What we find on the ground determines where we put more money for service delivery. Out of the budget of Shs51 trillion, we have unfunded priorities of over Shs200 trillion. I don’t see a reason for cutting the budget of NWSC and we are going to engage the Ministry of Water, the Ministry of Finance and the Prime Minister to ensure they expedite the proposals for top up funding,” Tayebwa said.
Mugisha report that the corporation is spending at least Shs800 billion a year on electricity supply to run the Katosi plant something which he states that is expensive .
“We are spending too much money on power. Our line of power has to be dedicated. As we use a commercial tariff, we want to request the Ministry of Energy to put us on the domestic tariff,” said Mugisha.
He also revealed that NWSC is more concerned about extending safe drinking water to more Ugandans who have not yet gained access to clean water and it will remain a difficult target to achieve with high power tariffs to run the pumping and treatment plants.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker advised the NWSC to explore means of finding partners to install a standby solar energy plant as a way of cutting the high costs of hydroelectricity needed to run the plant and conserving the environment through renewable energy development initiatives.
Mukono District Woman Member of Parliament, Hon. Hanifa Nabukeera commended the Deputy Speaker for inspecting service delivery projects and added that the water plant helps her constituents get access to clean water.
Mukono South MP, Hon. Fred Kayondo whose constituency hosts the NWSC water treatment plant said that, ’now that the supply lines for connecting the surrounding communities to water are in place, the government needs to work on the rural electrification in the area’.