KAMPALA: The National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) and Uganda Police Force (UPF) have partnered to fight theft of water in Kampala Metropolitan Region. NWSC, whose Managing Director is Dr. Eng Silver Mugisha, is responsible for provision of enough fire hydrants to support UPF’s Department of Fire and Rescue Services.
This police unit is supposed to use these hydrants for the intended purpose and ensure that they are not misused.
The issue of misuse of fire hydrants had for many years been thorny, with meetings between Kampala Water and Police’s Department of Fire and Rescue Services not yielding a lot of success. But on May 10, 2022, a meeting between the two parties charted the way forward in as far as fighting the misuse of hydrants and the theft of water is concerned. Held at the Kampala Water Headquarters along Jinja Road, the meeting was attended by ACP Hassan Kahinda, the Deputy Director of Fire Prevention and Rescue Services, and Kampala Water General Manager Eng Mahmood Lutaaya, among others.
ACP Kahinda discussed the details of a report on the status of fire hydrants in the Kampala Metropolitan Area. The highlights of the report included: removal or burial of hydrants due to ongoing civil works; lack of hydrant covers which makes them prone to silting alongside rubbish when it rains; missing hydrant plates; low pressure; and vandalism.
GM Eng. Lutaaya proposed that faulty, buried and missing hydrants be replaced with new ones. He also wants more hotspots identified so that fire hydrants can be erected there. He further guided that the joint team moves away from the blame game and discusses new ways of fighting losses that NWSC continues to incur due to hydrant vandalism and water theft.
Police’s ACP Kahinda proposed a joint inspection and future monitoring of the fire hydrants. Members attending the meeting unanimously endorsed the suggestion. Consequently, on May 11, the joint inspection was carried out.
While Dr Eng Mugisha’s NWSC has recorded commendable achievements in infrastructure development, customer base expansion and business growth, the issue of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) reduction has remained a big puzzle. Available figures indicate that in the FY 2019/20, the corporation registered a NRW of 33.5 per cent compared to 29 per cent in the previous financial year. NRW reduction is higher in Kampala, with the region’s rate almost 40 per cent in the FY 2019/2020.