President Yoweri Museveni has commissioned the first phase and performed the ground-breaking for the second phase, of the Lirima Gravity Flow Scheme on River Lwakhakha in Bukhoho Sub-County, Namisindwa district.
Funded by the African Development Bank under the Water Supply and Sanitation Program 1, the first phase of the scheme has installed water supplies in the sub counties of Bukokho, Bumbo, Magale, Bubutu, Bunabwana, Butiru and Sisuni.
The Lirima gravity Flow Scheme phase II will be funded by the government of Uganda and the African Development Bank under the Water Supply and Sanitation Program II. Once completed the scheme will cover selected sub-counties in three districts of Manafwa, Tororo and Mbale. These include: Sibanga, Bugobero, Buwagogo, Butiru and Bubutu in Manafwa district; two sub-counties of Busiu and Bukiyende in Mbale district and two sub-counties of Molo and Merikit in Tororo district.
Gravity water flow scheme is a relatively simple technology that takes advantage of altitude (highlands), availability of spring water, rivers or sufficient rain to capture, clean and channel water for human consumption. The technology traps/captures water from a source and transports it using the energy of gravity. Because it uses the energy of gravity to create the pressure to run the water, there is no need for pumps or any other form of energy to drive pressure to run the water. The biggest cost in such water schemes therefore tends to be the construction of the tanks and pipes.
Lirima scheme is located on the lower slopes of Mt. Elgon. Previous studies showed that up to 21 districts in Uganda have sufficient altitude to enable water gravity flow schemes. Districts like Kanungu, Bushenyi, Kitgum, among others, already have operational gravity flow schemes.
Commissioning the scheme President Museveni warned that cutting down the forests along the slopes of Mt Elgon will affect rainfall formation thus leading to drought which wil affect the water scheme’s ability to deliver water.
Museveni further said that 40 per cent of the water should be used for domestic purposes and 60 per cent should be used for irrigation.
Irene Muloni, minister for Energy & Mineral Development, Ronald Kibuule, State Minister for Water and Mary Goretti Kitutu, State Minister for Environment attended the event
Construction of the Lirima water scheme cost Shs 36 billion.