The long journey of water you consume in your house in Kampala

Have you ever wondered how the journey the water you consume in your home travels before it arrives in your taps? It can be very long. Provision of clean water is one of the greatest hurdles in cities. The larger the city, the more challenging and complicated it becomes for the water agency to distribute water efficiently. In the case of Kampala, the city is located right on the shores of Lake Victoria which is the major source of all water needs of the city. The challenge Kampala is now facing is how to pump water to the far flung areas in the northern part of the city away from the southern areas bordering lake Victoria the main source.

When the city was small and compact, it was easier to pump water from Ggaba on to the highest peak of the city ( Muyenga Tank hill) where large reservoirs were created to supply the entire city below by gravity. As the city kept expanding it was no longer possible for the water to flow to distant places, some of them with higher altitude than the location of the reservoirs. Besides, the demand for water far out striped the capacity of NWSC to provide the same to an ever increasing population in a large metropolitan area. The sucking pipes in lake Victoria could not pick enough water for the entire population in the city let alone the tanks holding it. At some time, when the water level of the lake drastically reduced due to climate change and drought, the pipes were left almost bare and not able to suck enough for all city residents. The GGABA water plant was expanded severally to accommodate the ever increasing demand but this to was not sustainable. A new centre was thus created at a new location called Katosi on the Eastern part of lake Victoria. Works on this water works commenced in 2918 and was completed in 2021with capacity to pump 160 million litres of water per day.

At the current rates of population growth in Kampala and surrounding areas, even Katosi station will not be able to provide adequate water to the surging numbers. Kampala does not have any other inland water source other than lake Victoria. The best alternative is for NW&SC to create inland lake reservoirs in different areas for example in Kayunga and Wakiso where water can be collected and purified; to serve the northern part of the city. It will be very costly for NW&SC to pump water for longer journeys from the same source far many miles away too serve the population in new areas where the city is expanding into. It’s unsustainable and very inefficient too in the long run.