- Many locals were physically seen consuming water from the river
- Some of them say they do not boil the water before drinking and prefer the raw water
- Red Cross has established a treatment plant at Obongi, but it is mainly used to supply water to Bidibidi settlement camp
- The statistics from the district water office indicates that safe water coverage in the district stands at 60 per cent
By Atiku Robert
Obongi- Residents of Obongi Town Council in Moyo district are at high risk of contracting water borne diseases as most of them drink contaminated water from River Nile.
Some of the locals also fetch the water for domestic use, despite the availability of the treated water supplied in the town council.
The locals believe that they have been drinking this water for generations. And they claim that they haven’t experienced any health problems in relation to drinking the water.
Ms Medina Siasa a resident of Obongi town said she does not care about the effects of drinking dirty water directly from the river.
“We have few boreholes here and that is why I drink the water direct from the source or not even boil it while at home. I have been drinking water from this river since I was born. I am now 25 years old. I grew up drinking the water just like that although sometimes I get abdominal pain, I feel it being normal.”
Another resident, Mr Rajab Usain, of Utubanga village Ewafa Parish Aliba subcounty said: “I grew up drinking this water. If you like I can drink it now. Boiling the water is time wasting because it is naturally safe and fresh.”
Ms Zaitun Ayikoru from Utubanga village said that: “I was born here in 1979 and have been drinking this water since then. Nobody should deceive us that this water is dirty. It is just safe because we drink it and we are not dead. There is no disease here.”
The River Nile water is visibly filled up with all sorts of dirt including fecal matter, plastics and other impurities.
Mr Alvis Ojja Moyo district water officer said: “Obongi is connected to two safe water sources but some of the community members are not willing to pay shs 1000 monthly operation and maintenance fee per person to access them. Yet the money they spend on drinking alcohol is more than that.
“There are some areas where the underground water potential is very low. Even if you drill for a hundred times, you can’t get water. The only solution is to connect piped water.”
Dr Franklin Iddi Moyo District Health Officer said: “Water which is got from the river must first be boiled or treated before you drink. If you take it with contamination, then it is not safe. But we have very many interventions that are addressing those issues like the de-worming programme, the tropical neglected diseases programme where mass drug distribution is done.”
Dr Iddi added that: “Unlike in the past where such interventions were not there, that was why Bilaharzia was so common. The last time we had cholera in Moyo was in 2014.”
The least served Sub-county with safe water in Moyo district is Gimara with 29 per cent coverage and it is followed by Aliba sub county with 48 percent coverage all in Obongi County.