InfoNile

"Geo"data journalism. Mapping stories on water issues in the Nile Basin.

Simplified sewerage project in Kilimahewa improving L. Victoria water quality

A bird's eye view of the Kilimahewa neighborhood of the city of Mwanza. The area is surrounded by hills, posing a major challenge to providing a proper sanitation infrastructure. It is now a beneficiary of a simplified sewerage programme by the government.

Friday May 25th, 2018

By Nyamiti Kayora and Sylvester Bulengela

In many hilly locations it is difficult to put up sanitary facilities such as toilets and septic tanks that are up to the required standard. This has been a major challenge for the vast majority of people in Mwanza leading to the pollution of Lake Victoria.

As a result, the Mwanza Urban Water Supply & Sewerage Authority (MWAUWASA) is initiating a project for treating raw sewage, in order to conserve clean water before it is discharged into Lake Victoria for human use.

Star TV, in collaboration with InfoNile and Code for Africa visited Kilimahewa – one of the areas benefiting from the project.

This is the real situation in Rock City, a situation brought about by the city of Mwanza being surrounded by hills.

It was not uncommon for raw sewage to flow openly in Kilimahewa, especially during the rainy season.

“It was difficult to dig proper latrines given the rocky nature of the ground here, so we ended up having very shallow latrines which were susceptible to overflowing when the rains came,” says Fransis Sumuni, a village ambassador for Kilimahewa.

These sentiments are echoed by Restuta Vicent, a resident of the area, who adds that the situation encouraged the spread of disease.

“The latrines would soon fill up quickly and be easily uncovered when the rains came and since we ended up digging many of them, disease would spread fast,” he says.

The simplified sewerage project is now considered a savior in Kilimahewa since, besides the laying of sewer pipes, it has eased movement in the area. More than 100 villages have been transformed as a result of the project.

“Some villagers would wait till nightfall to use open spaces as latrines, something which would pollute the environment,” says Joel Ifrahimu, a resident of Kilimahewa.

The situation has vastly improved following the project, according to Jovita Deogratiua a resident.

“Latrines filled up very quickly, meaning that we had nowhere to go, so we had to look for sewage exhaust services to drain the latrines, but now we don’t have to worry about that problem,” says Deogratiua.

The main aim of the project is to improve and conserve clean water as well as promote a clean environment in the city of Mwanza.

Curiously however, why should the project be referred to as simplified sewerage and not be known by any other term?

“It is because the standards have been adjusted to meet the basic sanitation needs of the area, to help with the flow of sewage,” explains Engineer Antony Sanga, MWAUWASA manager.

Measures against diseases caused by raw sewage are overseen by the sewerage authority, before discharging into Lake Victoria, which is the major source of water for residents in Mwanza.

“Untreated sewage from the city is the biggest polluter of water in Lake Victoria, which is the main source of water for residents in Mwanza,” says Leonard Msenyele and engineer with MWAUWASA.

The project is being implemented by the government. It will be expanded to include the remaining villages in Kilimahewa as well as other hilly areas in the city of Mwanza.

This story was supported by a story grant from InfoNile and Code for Africa. It was originally published on Star TV. Video in Swahili 

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