At least 15 % of water supplied by National Water and Sewerage Corporation in Luweero town council is being stolen by residents, the company claims.
National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) produces upto 17000 treated cubic meters of water per month but statistics released indicate that 2550 cubic meters of water which are equivalent to 2555000 million litres are stolen by residents.
Ronald Kisaakye the Luweero NWSC Branch Manager explains that the water is stolen through tempering with meters to make dysfunctional and this costs the company over five million shillings per month.
Kisaakye adds that apart from causing financial loss to the company, the thieves also contaminate the water and endanger the lives of users.
He says the main culprits are hotels, washing bays and public places. He says NWSC has now started a whistle blower programme to encourage the public to report those who steal water.
Kisaakye says that any company or household found stealing the water will pay instant penalty of 472,000 shillings and other fees he had to pay for last two years as stipulated in Water act.
He says NWSC is now in the process of replacing old meters with newer ones which have seals that are difficult to tamper with. He hopes the new meters will cut water theft by 10%.
Currently National Water and Sewerage Corporation inject 110 million shillings in production of water in three towns in Luweero but the revenue is only 76 million shillings per months according to branch financial records. Water thefts, high operation costs among other are leading challenges for the company to operate at break even points.
However Water users and Local Leaders blame the vice on increased water tariffs and other taxes leaving the residents with no option but to steal it.
Administrators of two washing bays in Luweero town who asked for anonymity admitted to URN that they resorted to stealing water because of the high water bills.
They claim that before NWSC’s entry into the area, they used to pay 100, 000 shillings per month. But since 2013 with NWSC in charge, they have to pay 300, 000 shillings. They find this unaffordable.
Paul Mukungu the Luweero Central Parish councillor says that the costs are prohibitive to accessibility of water which is a necessity and residents have no alternative but to steal it.
Sections of Luweero town residents lead by Joseph Ssenyonga say they have given up on water supplied by NWSC and resorted to fetching it in nearby swampy areas and boreholes despite of risks of contracting diseases.They asked for reduction of tariffs if the challenge of water theft is to reduce.
National Water and Sewerage Corporation connected towns in Luweero at National grid in November 2013 but residents and local leaders are yet to appreciate their services.