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Lenku bans sale of salty water in Kajiado

Sale of salty water in Kajiado County has been declared illegal and water vendors from private boreholes warned of prosecution if they defy the directive.
The directive by Kajiado Governor, Joseph Ole Lenku is aimed at protecting consumers against exploitation by water vendors who are selling salty water at lower prices than fresh water.
Private borehole operators and merchants of water are now required to purify the salty water they sell through desalination.
“No licenses should be issued to water vendors before inspection is done to ascertain that measures have been put in place to ensure the water being sold is clean and fresh,” said Lenku.
Although he acknowledged there was a shortage of water in several parts of the county, Lenku said that could not be used as an excuse to sell harmful water to residents.
He said the salty water had been proved to cause health complications if consumed over a long period of time.
“I have heard some people say the only salty water is available and it is cheap. I am giving an executive order that anyone who wants to sell water for public consumption must desalinate such water to be clean and fresh,” said the Governor.
The Governor issued the order in a statement on Monday, two days after the county’s Maji Awards that targeted community water projects that were deemed to be most reliable in supplying water to the community.
During the awards ceremony, Entalala water project from Rombo and Ole Polos water project from Kajiado West Sub-County were declared the best managed projects in the rural and urban areas respectively.
The new order could push the prices of water in Kitengela and Kajiado towns even higher, considering that the salty water which is cheaper than fresh water is the only option for thirsty residents.
A 20 litre Jerrica of fresh water retails at Ksh.50 in urban centres, such as Kitengela, Ngong, Isinya, Kiserian, Namanga and Ongata Rongai.
It could also put the county water department on the spot because vendors could cut off supply, citing inability to buy the purification equipment, further pushing the residents into more agony.
Lenku directed the county water CEC, Florence Waiganjo to immediately hold consultations with the relevant stakeholders to ensure prices of fresh water do not shoot due to the purification requirements.
“The adherence to this order will also include a discussion on capping of prices. We shall not allow exploitation of consumers by water merchants. The cost of fresh water should remain the same. We cannot trade with the health of our people,” said the governor.
He announced that the County Government had already entered negotiations with Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, through the Ministry of Water to supply Kitengela residents with 5,000 M3 litres of water (5M litres) through a direct pipeline
By Rop Janet

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