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Belgium gives Sh.2.9 billion for Athi River water project

The  Government  of  Belgium is funding a massive water supply project in Athi River, Machakos County at an estimated cost of Sh.2.9 billion.

Once  completed, the Mavoko Drinking Water Supply Project  will provide clean water to residents of Athi River town, Daystar University and environs, Syokimau, Kyumbi and all the outlying areas of Mavoko Sub-county.

The project is halfway in implementation and will greatly augment the current supplies to the area by providing more cubic meters of water.

Currently, the area relies on supplies from Nairobi City Water Services Company, Nol-Turesh, Mavoko Water Services Company (Mavwasco) bore holes, East  African Portland dam and unknown number of private boreholes all which are unreliable.

Among the works being undertaken under the project includes the rehabilitation and upgrading of these existing water supplies to the area.

It  also involves water reticulations systems, including fixing of piping systems, air valves, bulk meters, isolation valves, reservoirs, pump houses, offices, power supply system and external works such as access roads, car park, drainage gate house, tanks among other works.

Speaking when he conducted members of the Eastern Regional Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (RDICC) and those from the Machakos County Development Implementation Committee (CDICC) on a site tour of the project’s treatment plant in the outskirts of Athi river town  on Saturday , the CEO of Tanathi Water Works Agency, Eng. Fredrick Tito Mwamati, said the project which is being undertaken by Tanathi Water Services Board (TAWSB) is contracted to Aspac International with H.P Gauff Ingenieure as the consultants. It started in February last year and is expected to be completed by August 2020.

The  two committees, founded as a result of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Executive Order Number One of 2019 were led by the Regional Coordinator, Eastern Mr. Isaiah Nakoru who is the regional chair and the Machakos County Commissioner, Esther Maina. Also in the team were Directors from the Presidential Delivery Unit (PDU) led by Francis Ngatia (The Presidency), Cindy Kuria( Eastern Region) and Larry Mulomi (Lower Eastern) .

They are tasked with monitoring, evaluating and assessing all development projects and programs being undertaken in the Counties by the National Government with a view to ensuring they have value for money and meet timelines.

Others who accompanied the CEO, included Directors of TAWSB, Kalembe Ndile and Kiema Mwandia. “At Completion, the project will provide water to an estimated population of 270,000 against the current population of about 216, 000,” disclosed the CEO.

He said currently, the targeted area is being supplied with only 5,000 cubic meters per day, against a demand of 15,000 cubic meters per day.

Eng. Mwamati explained that the funding is separated into two components, namely Component A at 10,000,000 Euros (approx.sh1.14) as a soft loan and Component B at 15,481,000 Euros (approx. sh.1.76) as a commercial loan. Already, work under component A is 61% complete while under Component B it is 53.3% complete.

Earlier, the committee visited the ongoing dual-carriage works on the Athi River- Kyumbi stretch of the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, where it expressed misgivings at the termination of the dual lanes one kilometer just before Kyumbi turn off thus making it both a blackspot and traffic jam hub.

It  directed the contractor, China Railway 21st Bureau Group (Kenya) Limited and Kenya Highway Authority (Kenha) to work together and see how they can make the remaining portion a dual carriage. Also at the Devki point near Athi River turn off, the committee was told that the SGR line had encroached on the road reserve thus necessitating the highway contractors to look for a diversion which needs Sh.5.6 billion to compensate those affected.

Consequently, the contractor has been unable to proceed as the two entities that should compensate the people affected by the displacement, namely Kenya Railways and Kenha have not yet done so. “We only received Sh.570 million from Kenha, which we used to pay 430 affected persons,” explained  Waweru of the National Land Commission.

The committee asked the two organizations to liaise with the National Treasury to have the funds released so that compensation can be paid to those affected to enable them move out and pave way for the completion of the project.

By  Justus  Keesi

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