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Water Consumers Protest Hiked Water Tariff

Sebastian Ssebagala, the LC III chairperson Wobulenzi Town Council says that the water tariff will be revised to shilling 2300 in the next five months so that they can generate adequate revenue to cater for the operation costs.
Water consumers in Wobulenzi town council are protesting the increase in water tariffs despite the low water supply. Recently, Wobulenzi Town council agreed with Trandit Limited, the company supplying water there to hike the water tariff from shillings 1770 to shillings 1950 a unit. The new water tariff took effect on July, 01, 2012. Sebastian Ssebagala, the LC III chairperson Wobulenzi Town Council says that the water tariff will be revised to shilling 2300 in the next five months so that they can generate adequate revenue to cater for the operation costs.

 

He explains that water provider has been operating on loses because of the high inflation making it inevitable to hike the tariff. Ssebagala says that the town council has also approved a proposal by Trandit Uganda Limited Company to acquire a loan of 77 million shillings from the African Development Bank to sink a new well to boast water supply in the town.  Currently, Trandit Limited supplies water for only 6 hours days. Ssebagala however says that once the new well becomes operational, the company will increase the water supply from 6 to 12 hours.

He says that the burden of serving the loan lies squarely on the consumers and town council authorities. However, the decision to hike the water tariff has drawn angry reactions from some councilors and residents. They argue that the high water price will deny the urban poor residents access to clean water. Francis Kiwanuka, the Male youth councilor says that the new tariff is too high, adding that many residents may resort to drinking water from unprotected swamps and contract diseases.

 

He says that they advised the town council administration to petition the water and environment ministry, as well as prioritize clean water provision in the new budget but the LC 3 chairman turned a deaf ear. Bernard Lutaaya, a resident of Nakadingidi zone in Wobulenzi town council that access to clean water will remain a reserve to only the rich who can afford it. He says that with the increase of the water tariff and introduction of Value Added Tax, many people would not afford it.

 

James Mwebe, another resident says that with the few residents accessing the water due to the inefficient services by the provider, covering the operational costs still remains a challenge. Mwebe advises the town council to consider suspending the new tariffs and seek help from central government. Early this year, Trandit Limited attempted to hike the water tariff from shillings 1500 to 2000 but suspended the idea following protests by residents. According to statistics from Wobulenzi town council water department only 800 out of 70000 residents can access piped water leaving the majority to resort to swamps and boreholes.

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