Water Wars

17 Apr

Our story begins last September.

One of CLIDE’s US ministry partners (Fuel Uganda) put forth a vision for water projects in Karamoja, specifically starting in the community of Lomorucubae.  This just happens to be the community that was in the process of building a house for us so that we could spend time living with them in the village.  So, we put a team together and started drilling for water.  Our team came from Gulu, northern Uganda, and specialized in hand-dug boreholes instead of the traditional machine-dug holes.

Progress was slow in the beginning and the first site had to be abandoned.  The second site was starting to show some promise when all of the sudden…the wildlife authority arrived on the scene.

This is when things went downhill fast.

The wildlife authority is in a constant struggle with the local communities in this area as they are bordering on a federal game reserve.  Though the people have a legal right to live on this land (and have water access there), it seems the wildlife authority is always seeking to expand their territory and drive the people away.  They confronted our borehole drillers, taking their photos and threatening to arrest them if they continued digging in the area.  So work came to a grinding halt.

The community banded together and the issue was brought to the local district government, and eventually made its way up to the parliament, the first lady, and eventually to the president.  And there it has remained.  A resolution has been passed through parliament that the surrounding areas should be re-gazetted for human use instead of wildlife, but as of yet, there has been no signature from the president.

Through months of discouragement, the people have continued to struggle, but have brought their prayers and petitions to God in community-wide prayer meetings.


A group of us praying over the drilling site in January.

Then, one day everything changed.

Out of the blue, another NGO showed up at the village with a drilling truck and in a matter of a few days, the borehole was in place.  Apart from the hand pump on the top.  So, everything was ready to go, but it still wasn’t actually usable by the community without the pump.  We talked, and speculated, and made phone calls, but couldn’t figure out why the hand pump never made it onto the borehole.  But anyways, we were all still very excited to be this close to a clean water source right at the village’s edge.


The new borehole (minus the hand pump) at the edge of Lomorucubae.

As we continued to wait for the hand pump to arrive, some unwanted visitors found their way there instead.  The wildlife authority showed up in the village last week.  While holding the women and children of the community at gunpoint with their rifles, they proceeded to destroy the concrete foundation around the borehole,  break off the top of the pipe, and stuff stones and concrete chunks into the pipe.  After I received a phone call from the community the night this happened, I drove up the next morning and this is what I found.


The interior pipe broken off the borehole and the destroyed concrete surround.


A large piece of concrete wedged deep into the borehole pipe.

And this is where we remain today.  The incident has been reported to the district, the police, the internal security officer, but there is no resolution yet.

So we just have to keep doing what we have been doing: praying.

In the meantime, Fuel Uganda has produced an amazing video highlighting the water situation in Lomorucubae.  In it, you will see our village, our friends and neighbors, our community elders, the community’s only water source and the struggle to collect this foul and contaminated water.  Plus, if you watch it all the way through, you will even get to see some footage of me interacting with the community and talking about the work there.  I hope you enjoy and get a better idea of the desperate need for water you can be praying for in this place.





9 Responses to “Water Wars”

  1. Susan Spann April 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    How sad and discouraging. But I’m going to be praying that God will correct the situation in a magnificent way that meets their need abundantly and shows the world who He is


  2. SHIRLEY April 17, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Wow what a shame that they believe wildlife is more important than humans


  3. The Book of Acts (as a blog) April 19, 2014 at 11:53 am #

    Humans can only do so much to move a project like this to completion. It sounds like satan is weighing in on the outcome. We pray, God does the heavy lifting.

  4. annlpowell April 25, 2014 at 6:51 am #

    Where is the Fuel Uganda video? I would like to watch it. What a sad story but God will be glorified through it. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone


    • danieltgraham April 25, 2014 at 6:55 am #

      The video is embedded at the end of the blog post, otherwise, here is the link: http://vimeo.com/91252346
      Thanks for watching!

  5. Jossy May 2, 2014 at 11:22 am #

    Is the project inside Kidepo valley NP?

    • danieltgraham May 3, 2014 at 1:12 am #

      No it is not, Kidepo is in the far north of Karamoja.


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    […] response to the water situation in Lomorucubae (see Water Wars post for background on why this village doesn’t yet have clean water access) and the recent […]

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