People vacate Kitagata hot springs as water levels rise
A combination of fear and panic has engulfed visitors and community members around Kitagata Hot Springs in Kitagata City Council, Shima District, after flooding hit springs causing water levels to rise.
The springs where visitors soak were clogged with silt, plastic objects and external water from surrounding wetlands. The situation, which had hitherto lasted for three days, initially forced the reveller to dig up the mule to get where to sit until Thursday, when the whole place was submerged.
Mr. Dennis Kandibe, a reveller at the Mulago springs site, told monitor on Sunday that he had waited three days to soak in hot water again, but there was no change as flash floods continued to wreak havoc.
“On Thursday, I left the Lyantonde area to come and soak up the springs, but I found that they had been flooded. Since then, I have waited in vain for changes. I'm getting ready to come back and come back another time,” he said.
Soothing Sheema hot springs are a popular prank for visitors who flood a natural wonder to enjoy the sensational sensation. Currently, it is difficult for soakers to relax in mineral water.
It is believed that water from hot springs has healing properties that relieve people of muscle and joint pain. The water in Kitagata has different temperatures at different points. Some people carry containers to take the hot water back home for drinking. The place has become a tourist destination over the years.
The Senior Environmental Officer of Shima County, Mr. Boaz Turyatunga Patrick, attributed the incident to the ongoing degradation of wetlands in the Busheña and Sheema areas that make up the wetlands surrounding the hot springs.
“This is because wetlands that soften hot springs have been grossly degraded, depriving them of their ability to hold and retain water. The capacity of these other wetlands is very weak. We have witnessed how this happens and it continues to increase, we fear that hot springs may one day go to extinction,” he said.
Mr Turyatunga also attributed the flooding to the ongoing erosion of the soil, aided by the bare hills of Mukhito rising to the sky surrounding the hot springs.
“A lot of debris from the hills goes downstream and silts the wetlands around the springs. In the process, water that would flow normally is done in order to bounce back and flood the space near the hot spring,” he said.
Mr Turiatunga, however, said there were plans to outline preventive measures to protect sources from danger.