MBARARA: National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) officials in Mbarara City have decried rampant water theft in the region.
While addressing a press conference last week, the Mbarara regional general manager, Mr Francis Kateeba, said NWSC loses 166,000 cubic metres of water every month.
“People are busy stealing. Every month in the Mbarara area, we lose 32 percent (166,000 cubic metres) of what is produced, that is water which is supposed to go to good people but these bad people want free things,” Mr Kateeba said.
He said NWSC suffered Shs2.6b water losses from July to November 2021.
“By May (last year), it was 42 percent and now we have reduced it to 32 percent. We are dealing with it by discouraging people from stealing water. Per month water worth Shs532m is lost. So for the last five months, Mbarara area has lost something close to Shs2.6b,”Mr Kateeba said.
The senior security officer of NSWC Mbarara, Mr Adam Kyakuwa, said residents have a habit of cutting pipes to make bricks.
“We investigated 203 cases in five months and we found that 82 were actual and we arrested only 18, fortunately we did not take anybody to court because we educated and they responded positively,” Mr Kyakuwa said.
He added: “We have managed to fine Shs158m out of those cases and we have collected almost half (Shs70m) from the fines up to November 30 (last year).”
Mr Kyakuwa said there is also a problem of metre thefts, which has been escalated by scrap businesses. He called upon people to fight the vice.
“We have heard that the scrap people are interested in some of the elements in the metres. People steal the metres and sell them to the scrap dealers and some take them for illegal connection. Let us all protect our metres,” Mr Kyakuwa said.
The acting Mbarara NWSC commercial manager, Mr Bob Michael, said some people at the public water points are overcharging customers.
“We have heard that there are some public taps which charge Shs400 per 20 litres. But these public taps are meant to allow customers to have water at a cheaper cost. We even signed a memorandum of understanding with these operators not to sell water more than Shs50,” Mr Micheal said.
He added: “We give these public taps water cheaply, a 20 litre jerrycan is provided at Shs25 and when we met our operators because of the other costs involved in maintaining these taps, we agreed that they can sell water at Shs50 so we want our customers to have information that when you go to a certain water public tap get water at Shs50.”