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Kahiga to safeguard water sector against revenue loss

Nyeri Governor Mutahi Kahiga has promised to intensify war against illegal water connections to save the county from unnecessary revenue losses.

He similarly pledged full support to county water bodies   through putting up of modern technologies to identify areas prone to water leakages and illegal connections.

Kahiga who had hosted Othaya Mukurwe-ini Water Services Company (OMWASCO) board members yesterday said non-revenue water in the county stood at 42 per cent against the internationally recommended rate of under 20 per cent.

“We will continue supporting the work of this board especially in matters related to non-revenue water that continue to rob us of much needed funds. In addition, we are going to embark on utilizing modern technologies to help map out water connections so as to identify areas water is being lost,” he told the board led by its chairperson Arthur Mukiira together with the MD Moses Munya.

The county boss similarly urged the board members to ensure the company sticks to the core values of integrity and accountability to enable it deliver on its core mandate to the public.

On Monday Interior Cabinet Secretary Kithure Kindiki unveiled the Water Police Unit (WPU) to provide security to the critical water infrastructure.

The unit which will be under the Administration police will mainly be tasked with securing assets and other resources for the Ministry of Water.

The unit’s creation comes in the wake of a disclosure by the State that up to Sh10.6 billion is lost annually through non-revenue water through vandalism and illegal connections.

“Upon deliberation by the Ministry of Water and the National Police Service, a need was identified to provide armed security and protection to critical water facilities to avert criminal activities that may greatly derail water resources in up to 34 counties under the water works development agencies,” Kindiki said during the event in Nairobi.

On Monday Kahiga entered into a working partnership with the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority (NWHSA) that will see residents of Nyeri benefit from improved water services.

During the signing of the deal between the County Government of Nyeri and NWHSA chairperson Dr. Samuel Thiong’o Mwangi, Kahiga requested the State to do more in funding water projects in the county in order to enhance accessibility of water to the public.

The county boss hailed the partnership terming it a big leap in ensuring continued collaboration between the national government and devolved functions in service delivery to the public.

“In my hand, I am holding a Memorandum of Understanding between ourselves, the county government of Nyeri and the National Water Harvesting and Storage Authority under the chairmanship of Dr Samuel Thiong’o Mwangi who has led a very strong team here. This is a document that has been negotiated between the two entities and there are a number of commitments that we have undertaken towards working together mostly in harvesting of water and provision of water in this country,” he said.

Among areas the two entities will partner include developing of water infrastructure including distilling of dams, enhancing water security, storage, provision of good management of water services as a mitigation of drought and flood effects in a sustainable manner, survey, design and construction of dams for water supplies and irrigation and creating effective schemes of flood control by land drainage and construction of dykes.

In addition, the State water agency will assist in the maintenance of existing and expanding bulk water supply to water services and other water service providers, drilling, test pumping, and equipping of boreholes and bridging the gap between the demand and supply of water.

“We have agreed on a number of things we may work together towards the designing and development of water infrastructure including the desilting of dams, enhancing of water security, storage, provision of good management of water services as a mitigation against drought and floods in a sustainable manner,” he said.

During his maiden speech to members of the Nyeri County Assembly on October 5 last year Kahiga promised to utilize 100,000 hectares of the county’s arable land as one way of boosting food production both for the local consumption and external market.

The county boss who is currently serving his second and final term in office also promised to complete construction works on 20 water reservoirs to help in supplying water to farmers for irrigation purposes.

“I have committed to mechanize agriculture by completion of 20-large-scale dams, support small-holder agriculture drip irrigation, and work with the private sector to enhance commercial agricultural production on at least 100,000 hectares. I have committed to rehabilitate 30 dams and 100 water pans to increase water supply for irrigation, power generation, and increase acreage under irrigation to 20,000 hectares from the current 5,000 hectares,” he told the 42-member house.

“By the end of the last five years, we have connected 65 per cent of the county citizens with clean treated water for domestic use which is estimated at 160,000 households, extended 252 Kilometers of water pipeline, constructed two water treatment facilities for Naro Moru Water and Sewerage Company and Tetu Water and Sewerage Company, drilled and rehabilitated 29 boreholes, constructed 14 intakes, 39 masonry tanks and issued 209 plastic tanks to the 30 wards,’’ he added during the ceremony.

By Samuel Maina

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