Residents of Kisii town and its environs may not access reliable and clean water supply in the near future unless the Kisii County Government offsets electricity bills amounting to Sh.13 million accrued from June last year.
Power supply disconnection at Kegati Water Treatment Works in Nyaribari Chache Constituency has grounded activities and stalled water distribution to 200,000 people in the targeted area.
During a site visit on Wednesday, the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee found that the expansion of water supply plant by the National government through State Department for Water and Sanitation was completed and launched in March 2017 but residents are yet to realize full benefits which include reduction of water borne diseases due to improved water quality.
Led by the County Commissioner (CC), Stephen Kihara, who is also the Chairman CDICC noted that the twin project which involved expansion of sanitation system at Suneka in Bonchari Constituency was in progress but currently delayed payment stood at Sh.207.05.
The projected date of completion by China Jiangxi International Kenya limited is April 30, 2020 after which residents in Kisii town and its environs will be able to access 8,000 cubic meters of water per day as opposed to the current insufficient 4,000 cubic meters.
The Resident Engineer for the project, Silas Cheruiyot noted that by the end of the project which is funded by the German Development Bank and Government of Kenya, the waste water treatment plant will also have improved its capacity from 2,000 cubic meters per day to 4,000.
Cheruiyot appealed to the government to pay any outstanding balances for faster completion saying total project cost in Kisii County stood at 1.8 billion before the project is commissioned.
Kihara appealed to the implementing agency and the contractor to ensure waste water was treated to standard before it is released into the stream to cushion those consuming it downstream from toxins which can cause health hazards.
Speaking to KNA on phone, the County CEC for Water, John Momanyi said the County government was working out an agreement with KPLC to accept partial payment as they wait for a supplementary budget to clear the arrears.
However, Momanyi noted that the passing of the supplementary budget was the prerogative of members of the County Assembly who are expected to resume business soon after the December recess.
Others present during the visit included, the Water Project Operations Manager, Mark Ong’ong’e, the Presidential Delivery Director, Melchizedek Onguso, the County Coordinator for National Land Commission, Andrew Rotich and the site engineer for the contractor,Ding Chen among others.
By Jane Naitore