By Otim Brian
Brian Otim is a practising water resources engineer currently working with National Water and Sewerage Corporation. He has over six years of experience in the whole-of-cycle-drinking water infrastructure development and management. He has supervised construction of sanitation facilities and water mains. He graduated from Ndejje University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.
The project involved the following: The development of a smart borehole to augment water supply in Kitgum Municipality. (2) The construction of on-site sanitation facilities i.e. drainable pit-latrines at Okidi & Pajimo primary schools, and a state-of-the-art water-borne toilet at Pajimo Health Centre III, (3) The extension of piped water supplies to Pajimo Village coupled with the construction of five public water points, and (4) Themed training of PSP operators on financial literacy and hygiene promotion. Smart water & sanitation systems, public-private projects, integrated management best practices.
In Uganda over 23.8 million people still lack access to potable water (WaterAid, 2018), and this is worse in northern Uganda owing to the massive damage to the water and sanitation systems in the aftermath of the protracted LRA war. It is against this background that NWSC in November 2014 sought support from different partners through the sustainable water fund (FDW), Netherlands Enterprise Agency, and eventually birthed the AATWATSAN project to facilitate its drive to increased water coverage and packaged sanitation, especially in Northern Uganda which includes Kitgum District.
1.1 Problem Statement
The yearly perennial intermittence of piped water supplies in the dry seasons and inadequate sanitation facilities in the formerly war-ravaged Kitgum District is leading to an issue of open defecation as shown in Figure 1
The project’s main objectives were:
The development of a smart borehole to augment water production in Kitgum Municipality.
The improvement of on-site sanitation in selected schools and health centres.
Community sensitisation and training of PSP operators on WASH best practices.
1.3 Partners and Roles
The project’s partners and roles are highlighted below:-
NWSC- Principal applicant and lead project implementer in the selected towns
VEI- Capacity building of technical personnel through training and advisory services
UNESCO-IHE- Research and development
Kagga & Partners- Supervisory construction of onsite sanitary facilities
Plan International- Training of PSP operators on WASH best practices
Davis & Shirtliff- Supervisory construction of static facilities i.e. boreholes and/or reservoirs
MoWE– Soliciting of donor funding and provision of additional project supervision
This chapter covers the procedure that was followed during this research all through water supply augmentation, pipe water extension, operator’s trainings and the analysis of the obtained results from each study.
2.1 Water supply augmentation
A 26kW SCADA powered motorised borehole (shown in Figure 2) was conceptualised, developed and operationalised at Lemo in Pager Division, Kitgum Municipality. This state-of-the art borehole is fitted with a series of loggers for pressure, water level, power, flow, etc., that relay real-time data to the RTC or PLC where it is micro-processed and transmitted to a satellite by a transmitter, and afterwards, further data processing by the Lorentz software found on the HMI interface e.g. computers, phones, etc, for final interpretation and, if need be, diagnosis by the operator.
In tandem with this development, an operational existing motorized borehole at Mican in Kitgum Municipality was refurbished i.e. flushing and pump-testing, and re-designed to transmit piped water to Pajimo Village in Kitgum District.
2.2 On-site sanitation facilities
To improve the living conditions within Pajimo village, a modern 4-stance drainable pit latrine (Shown in Figure 3) at Pajimo Primary School, and a 6-stance water-borne toilet at Pajimo Health Centre III were constructed; a similar 4-stance drainable pit latrine was also constructed at Okidi Primary School. All these facilities are now in final stages of construction, and when fully operational will be a game-changer in improving sanitation as well a benchmark for resilience to development partners involved in the provision of WASH infrastructures in emergencies e.g. LWF, UNHCR, etc.
2.3 Piped water extension
A 10km OD110mm uPVC PN16 & HDPE PN16 transmission main (shown in Figure 4) to evacuate water from the re-designed existing motorized Mican borehole in Kitgum Municipality to a 50m3 reservoir at Pajimo Army Primary School, coupled with a 4km HDPE PN10 distribution network of varying pipe sizes OD63 to OD90mm has been laid. Furthermore, a 1.5km OD160mm uPVC PN16 transmission main to evacuate water from the new Lemo SCADA borehole, to the 300m3 PTC reservoir to augment water supplies to Kitgum Municipality and environs has too been laid. In addition, five public water points pending connection have been established in schools and trading centres in Pajimo to avail potable affordable water to the populace.
2.4 Operators’ trainings
A series of themed trainings for PSP operators were conducted in conjunction with project partners as shown in Figure 5. The aim of these training was to improve sanitation at the point-of-source through ensuring routine cleanliness, and 2) to instill a savings mindset into the operators to not only meet NWSC bill payments, but also for personal growth.
2.4 Results & Analysis
The project’s successes include the following: – 1) An augmentation of a minimum 240m3 per day of water supply from a renewable source i.e. solar, to the existing grid that has not only improved the earlier water supply intermittence in Kitgum Municipality but also reduced the overall energy costs. 2) An improvement of the ambiance/outlook of public water points and the financial literacy of PSP operators. (3) The successful trialing and joint implementation of public-private projects for sustainable development. However, to ensure the timely execution of public-private projects, there has to be in place well-coordinated performance meetings amongst partners for reviews and for identification of any impediments to implementation. There may be need for benchmarking on the same projects elsewhere or even abroad, dependent on resources for the realisation of synchronized project management goals. The project management partner teams should ensure transparency and accountability prevail to foster mutual trust for holistic project success.
This project will set a blueprint for delivering sustainable water and sanitation services while harnessing the scarce resources in the global south; and when fully operational and all its facets e.g. toilets/latrines and water system complete, then Pajimo Village in Akwang Subcounty will, for the first time, have reliable potable water all the time coupled with improved tailored sanitation facilities.
Brian Otim, 2020, The TRANSFORM: Utilities Sanitation Challenge, https://nru.uncst.go.ug/xmlui/handle/123456789/1790.
Netherlands Enterprise Agency, 2015,Alternative approaches and tools for improved WATSAN in Uganda, https://projects.rvo.nl/project/nl-kvk-27378529-fdw14ug43/.
SoftPower News, 2018, Inside NWSC’s Plan to Achieve 100% Access to Safe Water, https://softpower.ug/feature-inside-nwscs-2020-plan-to-achieve-100-access-to-safe-water/.
Sensorex, 2022, SCADA Systems & Applications in Water Treatment Plants, https://sensorex.com/2022/03/21/scada-systems-applications-water-treatment-plants/.