By Ansasira Mascot
Despite the interventions from different stakeholders towards finding an everlasting solution, floods have remained a big threat to both the lives and livelihoods of people within and around Bwaise and Kyebando.
When it rains, most of Bwaise residents scramble to cross the road by makeshift wooden bridges planted over large stinking pools of water while some just walk in dirty flooded water to access their homes.
The lack of proper drainage channels has increased cases of drowning especially during and after heavy rains. Most victims have been children and the elderly.
The flooding has further led to displacement of people and disease outbreak due to poor sanitation since human waste from pit latrines and other waste is always carried around from waste collection areas by storm water.
However much KCCA has set guidelines to deal with and contain the situation, the citizens have adamantly refused to take up the measures by continuing to dump waste into drainage channels which blocks drainage systems.
Maurice Semukemba, who once worked with KCCA, argues that the biggest cause of flooding in the area are the clogged channels and that the residents are to blame.
The main drainage channels are so narrow and at times are overpowered by the heavy run-off waters on top of human activities like constructing buildings within water passages among others that block water movement, triggering backflow of water.
There is also encroachment on wetlands which are supposed to be catchment areas. Currently, many factories and houses have been built in wetlands despite the existing law, yet the local authorities at times just look on since some developers wield much influence to the big people in government.
At the Centre for Energy Governance, we are convinced that in order to curb the problem of flooding and its effects in Bwaise, the following measures need to be taken with immediate effect.
- Drainage channels need to be widened, deepened and provided with small drainage channels to help ease the flow.
- The leaders should mobilize and encourage people living in Bwaise to make sure that they don’t dump waste in places not gazetted for waste disposal and also sensitize them to take part in cleaning all places that block water flow.
- The local authorities should frequently collect waste, set up public garbage collection points so that when it rains, there isn’t waste to block water flow.
- The local authorities should also establish good storm water management systems which should focus on preserving critical green spaces hence protecting the wetlands from encroachment and fostering plans that aim to harvest rain water.
- New building laws should be put in place forcing developers to leave some portions of their land unpaved so that water can be absorbed without necessarily flowing.
- Vertical construction (storeyed buildings) should be adopted so there is more space for drainage channels and green areas.
- Unplanned settlements and informal business should be stopped since they encourage encroachment on wetlands and yet do not earn any income to the government.
- Fines and penalties should be established to punish people who dump rubbish in the drainage channels.
- Studies should be made for updating of drainage master plan for Bwaise to improve mobility and reduce flooding.
- Political leaders, government and Bwaise dwellers should each perform their role to ensure the eradication of floods from Bwaise and make it a better place to live with proper drainage systems, housing and waste management to enhance growth and development.
Ansasira Mascot, Research Fellow, Centre for Energy Governance.