Residents of Nakwamekwi village in Lodwar will continue waiting to receive water in their homes as their hopes were deferred yet again.
Despite the numerous stern warnings against the contractor that include threats of cancellation of the contract, the residents’ plight is yet to be addressed.
When he took over as the acting Chief Officer in the Ministry of Water after Governor Jeremiah Lomurukai made changes in his government last month, James Lokwale gave the contractor a further two months to complete the project.
Lokwale was speaking while on his second day familiarization tour of the water stress areas of Canaan, Kambi Mpya, Methewan, Narewa, Lokitela, Nanyang’akipi, Naperebei and Lokapar’parae in Kanamkemer and Lodwar township wards.
His immediate predecessor had also promised to ensure the completion of the project but faced hurdles which saw him exit the water docket without completion of the project.
Lokwale admitted that the County government has some outstanding payment for the contractor of the Sh9 million project.
“We have given the contractor an additional two months to complete the work, failure to which we will cancel the contract. We have to deliver on what we promised to residents, even as we follow up on his outstanding payment,” said Lokwale.
Water problem in Nakwamekwi has been used as a campaign tool with various politicians seeking to capitalize on the sorry state of affairs of the residents.
Delay in completion of the project is causing a strain on a borehole at Lodupa, currently serving the lower suburb of Nakwamekwi.
The project is being implemented under UNICEF, World Vision Kenya and the county government, WASH partnership and funded by KOICA and UNICEF. ,.
Lokwale said that upon completion of the project, the daily water supply would be 120 cubic metres with over 3,000 consumer connections at the Upper Nakwamekwi area.
He said plans were underway to fast track drilling of an additional borehole at Nabulon area, equipped with solar-powered station and a storage tank.
Further, the Department of Water Services is in the final stages of implementing a Sh32 million Kawalase water project, in liaison with KenHA. Water will be pumped from a borehole at Moi Gardens, Lodwar to a masonry tank to serve residents across the river.
Practical Action organization is supporting the Ministry in a plan to lay a 3-kilometre pipeline to Methewan area with water pumped from an elevated steel tank located at Canaan Health Centre.
He promised to liaise with Area MCAs to consider prioritizing sufficient funding for mega water infrastructure projects in subsequent budgets to address perennial scarcity of water in Lodwar Municipality.
With his grand plans, it remains to be seen whether he will convince the County Public Service Board and the County Assembly that he is the best suited candidate to be the chief officer in the ministry.
Governor Jeremiah Lomurukai has made it clear that water service provision and health sector rank high in his development agenda.
By Peter Gitonga