At least more than ten villages in Kyarurangira sub-county in Rakai district are struggling to survive without water following the mysterious movement of part of Lake Kijanebarola. The vast water body dried up leaving few ponds that cannot sustain the affected communities.
The lake has been a source of livelihoods for the communities of Nkundi, Kalunga, Kigavu, Kisovu, Lusambya, Kawenda, Kizinga, Mayenga, Lwambajjo, Namunengo and Lugenda for several decades. According to the residents, they can hardly access water
for animals and domestic use. Most of them have now turned to water vendors.
They say that the cost of Jerry can has gone up from Shillings 200 to Shillings1000, which several households cannot afford.
Nathan Ssengabi, a herdsman says that their 62 cows have not had enough water since last week. He adds that they buy water from a nearby school that has several reserve tanks.
According to Ssengabi, they are rationing the limited water for their livestock to survive, adding that each cow is currently surviving on a cup of water.
Patrick Mande, another affected resident, says he plans to relocate to another village to access clean and safe water. He appealed to the government to intervene by setting up
boreholes or taps in the affected communities to help the residents.
Wilber Kasiisi, the Nkundi Village LC 1 chairperson, says that they trek long distances to other villages to fetch water, which was not the case in the presence of the lake. He complains that none of the district or government official has visited them since the incident occurred to support or guide them on what to do next.
According to Charles Ahiirwe Ndiire, an elder in Nkundi village says that they have never thought of establishing an alternative source of water because of the presence of the lake, which they never expected to vanish.
He says that they need the government to support them by digging valley dams, especially during the current rainy season. However, Samuel Kaggwa Ssekamwa, the new Rakai LC 5 Chairperson, says they have a plan to visit the affected communities to see what to do.