Leaders in Kakanju Sub-county in Bushenyi District have embarked on an exercise to protect Lake Katunga from silting by sensitising the community on how to protect it.
Lake Katunga, which is about 20km away from Bushenyi Town, has been a source of water to the communities living around it.
The Bushenyi District environment officer, Mr Vincent Kataate, said poor cultivation practices by land owners, including planting crops so close to the lake, have caused continuous silting of the lake.
“We have taken an initiative to work with community members in conserving the lake and we have been there. As we speak, the sub-county agriculture officer has already gone to the ground to demonstrate to land owners how to plant elephant grass, dig terraces, and plant trees in a bid to prevent soil erosion,” he said.
He added: “We have engaged all leaders at different levels to sensitise the local population on sustainable land management practices and planting of water catchment friendly trees. We shall keep doing several interventions including community sensitisation. People need to know the value of this lake and the need to protect it.”
Mr Adnaan Tumuhairwe, the Kakanju Sub-county representative in Bushenyi District local government council, said many locals and leaders raised concern over the state of the lake.
He said without being conserved and protected, Lake Katunga could completely dry up.
“As local leaders, we have challenged ourselves to take the lead as far as our lake is concerned. We have held some meetings and with support from the district, we are finally doing something,” Mr Tumuhairwe said.
The Bushenyi District head of natural resources, Mr Cyril Mugyenyi, said previous interventions put in place to save the lake were frustrated by the land ownership.
He added that land owners around the lake have been asked to plant crops that can prevent soil erosion in a buffer distance of at least 10metres offshore.
He suggests that government should compensate the land owners around the lake and leave the place to regain its natural shape for conservation purposes and also recover soil quality.
“If resources were available, government would compensate those locals who have land around the lake,” Mr Mugyenyi said.
Mr Benson Kategaya, a resident of Kacence Cell in Bushenyi, said: “We welcome the new intervention on top of others that have been in place to save the lake. For example, I have planted the grass already with guidance from the agriculture extension officer and fellow residents have agreed to the efforts.”
He added: “It is not the first time we are moving to save Katunga, but we, the landowners kept on encroaching on the lake because we needed land to survive.”