By HOMELAND MMEDIA TEAM
The row between officials at the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and Umeme in the Bushenyi area has deepened over what NWSC decribed as continuous power outages in the area.
The Homeland Newspaper that the two groups have locked horns for the last two months due to piecemeal and interrupted power supply at the Kitagata water plant in the Sheema district, which is the biggest water source in the area, and that this has given birth to frosty relations.
The NWSC Bushenyi area manager, Eng. Sam Kiggundu told this publication on Monday that an unstable power supply to the water treatment plant in Kitagata has eaten the deepest into their production and the population has blamed it all on NWSC.
“For the last two months, we have had an unstable power supply to the plant and this means using the generator to pump water, and the cost of fuel is almost double the cost of power. We have had to operate the plant for more than ten hours and this is deep,” said Eng Kiggundu.
Eng. Kiggundu added that efforts to improve working relationships with Umeme have hit a snag due to lack of information from the Ishaka-based office.
“I have raised this with the Umeme management team that power is on and off and this is disturbing our production process. When you ask them to tell you what is happening, they cannot explain and respond to the situation yet we are making losses. Their response to this problem has been so poor,” he noted.
“The solution is for Umeme to improve their standards and improve their services because, without power, there is nothing else we can do. Kitagata operates 24/7 and we need stable power. We can’t even go for solar because solar cannot power such a plant,” he added
According to Engineer Ivan Magomu the NWSC Bushenyi area engineer, production has gone down due to power outages.
“Kitagata plant produces close to 2800-3000 cubic meters of water a day. When you miss an hour of supply that means the whole town will feel the pinch. A generator consumes a lot of fuel, above 70 liters per hour. If you are running it for three days, it bites into us,” he told the press.
The head of the technical team at Umeme Bushenyi branch, Mr Johnbosco Ssembatya denied the reports saying the area had a power supply save for Sunday night when the supply was interrupted by a truck accident along the line.
“We have stable power, if NWSC has issues, they should report them so that they can be handled. The line supplying any area in Bushenyi and Rukungiri, comes from Mbarara and it is always on,” said Mr Ssembatya
The Umeme Bushenyi branch manager, Ms Winifred Flavia Nalukoobyo told this reporter that they (Umeme) have had meetings with the water corporation to improve the service.
“We had a meeting with the NWSC team last week and we agreed to go through the entire line and see what improvement is required. The major problem affecting the entire line up to Rukungiri is not something we can resolve immediately, but we pledged to have stand-by teams to assist restore supply whenever required,” said Ms Nalukoobyo.