Water companies under the county governments have been urged to reduce operational costs and allocate more funds towards direct investment in their counties.
This would lead to increase in development projects contributing to increased water and sanitation access across the country.
Water Sector Trust Funds (WSTF) Board of Trustees’ member Eng. Mathew Tuitoek made the call during a ground breaking ceremony of Ol Arabal Water and Marigat public sanitation facility in Mosuro area of Baringo South Sub-county.
The board member said the move would also enable the Ministry of Water and Sanitation to achieve its target of 100 percent access to water by all Kenyans by the year 2030.
Eng. Tuitoek expressed the need to have all the water projects financed by the fund to be technically, environmentally and financially sustainable.
According to Eng. Tuitoek WSTF has partnered with European Union in a programme dubbed Ending Drought Emergencies (EDE) and climate proved infrastructure to facilitate improved water supply and sanitation in Arid and Semi-Arid areas in the country.
“Baringo county government is a beneficiary of the programme to a tune of Sh76 million,” added Eng. Tuitoek.
He lauded the development partners for their support and constant engagement in the activities of their organization.
He expressed the fund’s gratitude towards Baringo county government for partnering in the project by contributing Sh9 million towards the initiative.
Eng. Tuitoek challenged the county government to ensure speedily implementation of the project so as to get subsequent funding from the organization.
Eng. Tuitoek who is the chair of Investments and Monitoring committee at WSTF praised Baringo for its efforts after becoming second of the eight ASAL counties targeted to launch its project which was successfully financed by the fund.
He said slow uptake of the funds was the main challenge that derailed water development projects and called for mutual support by all stakeholders in the counties.
“Once we push for the funding, the respective county governments ought to ensure that the contractors beat timelines so as to motivate us to increase funding to enable the targeted counties move on with more water projects,” he reiterated.
He called on leaders to avoid political sideshows and concentrate on work that will improve service delivery to the people.
Baringo governor Stanley Kiptis who undertook the ground breaking ceremony lauded WSTF for its support to the county which was struggling to improve and increase water access to clean water by 45 percent by 2023.
“13 per cent of the project funds is from the county government and I want to thank our MCAs for their resolve to ensure access to water,” said the governor.
He added that Baringo has perennially experienced drought and water shortage and as such, it deserved the funding.
Governor Kiptis said that the project was destroyed by the El nino rains in the year 1997 and 1998 and may cost up to Sh400 million to restore as per the engineer’s estimations.
“As an administration, we are working hard to improve water access. Since devolution we have dug 170 boreholes, 178 water pans and 354 new distribution lines that has brought our access to 40 per cent in the county,” explained the governor.
He said the new project would cover six locations in three wards from Kiserian to Eldume and would boost a new rig bought by the County Government.
North Rift Economic Block (NOREB) Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dominic Biwott underscored the need for fiscal responsibility in their donor funded projects warning that failure in this area would deny them donor funds in subsequent issues.
“We don’t have our own money but we fundraise from donors abroad and as such, we should be accountable, We want to ensure the money invested is well utilized in the intended project,” said Dr. Biwott
He donated Sh13 million to Kirandich Water Works Company and Sh6 million to Chemususu Water Company to be used in operation and maintenance for the two entities.
Baringo South Member of Parliament Charles Kamuren said the ambitious water project was welcome but noted that insecurity which was a major challenge denied his constituents opportunity to enjoy proceeds of government projects initiated to alleviate their living standards.
Kamuren said Mosuro residents would also benefit from a Sh16 million from Ministry of Water towards building of irrigation canal.
Mukutani ward Member of County Assembly Renson Parkei called on the contractor to consider getting unskilled labour from the area residents as a way of improving their livelihoods and ensuring they benefitted from the project.
Water Sector Trust Fund, also known as Water Fund, is a Kenyan State Corporation mandated under the Water act 2016 to finance water supply, sanitation and water resource management for the underserved and marginalized communities in the rural and urban areas in all the 47 counties.
By Vincent Miningwo & Christopher Kiprop