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Water Firms to Subsidize Water Connection Fee for Low Income Earners

Five water firms in Kenya will undertake a program to connect water to low-income earners at a subsidized tariff through a five-year social connection policy initiative starting 2023.

Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (KIWASCO) has been identified as a mentor to those companies, supported by the Global Water Operators’ Partnerships Alliance (GWOPA).

The companies are Kakamega County Water and Sanitation Company (KACWASCO), Kiambu Water and Sewerage Company (KWCL), Amatsi Water Services Company (AWASCO), Oloolaiser Water and Sewerage Company (OWSC) and Mombasa Water Supply and Sanitation Company (MOWASSCO).

Kisumu Water was selected as a mentor in the program after successfully implementing another ongoing pro-poor policy program. It will receive equipment that will be used during the program period.

Pro-poor policy involves the provision of water and sanitation services to low income earners mostly in informal settlements who cannot afford to pay for water and sanitation services conventionally.

The social connection and the pro-poor policies are efforts made by water companies as required by the Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) to provide access to water as required by the Kenyan constitution and towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6), Access to Water and Sanitation for all.

KACWASCO has been implementing the Pro-poor policy in the informal settlements of Kakamega by establishing Water Kiosks and ablution blocks in the mapped-out areas to enable low earners get affordable but quality water and sanitation facilities.

In Mumias, KACWASCO through support from Water Sector Trust Fund (WaterFund) has constructed 122 Safisan toilets. According to WaterFund, Safisan toilets are meant to provide clean and hygienic management of human excreta from human contact.

Speaking to KNA, the acting CEO of KACWASCO Christabel Ashiono said the company will construct more safisan toilets in mapped out pro-poor areas in Kakamega, Shitoli, Shinyalu among other areas of coverage. The company will additionally put up Yard taps in densely populated areas for use by members of the public in the pro-poor policy program areas.

“Water is a basic right for everyone and you realize if we were to treat everyone the same, some of the people will not access this service. As per the regulation, we need to subsidize services to ensure the people in those low income areas, the pro-poor areas, get water,” she noted.

Ashiono said that the pro-poor areas lie in the four areas and five schemes that the water company has been licensed by WASREB to serve through provision of Water and Sanitation services.

The Company covers Kakamega area, Mumias Area, Shitoli area and Shinyalu area and Tindinyo, Muranda, Lumakanda, Malava and Butere Schemes. It serves a population of 30 000 customers, with customer cleanup exercises ongoing.

The Company has a capacity to produce 33 000 liters of water per day, with Tindinyo treatment plant being the largest with a capacity to produce 16 000 liters of water per day. The Nambacha water treatment plant is supposed to be producing 15 000 liters of water per day.

“We are not producing to the maximum at the moment per day whereby instead of 33000 litres per day we are actually doing 21000 litres. Tindinyo scheme being the leading scheme in production produces 13 000liters and Nambacha plant 5000 liters of water,” she pointed out.

Tindinyo serves Shitoli, Murhanda, Shinyalu and Kakamega area.

Field inspectors undertake routine taste of the water produced by KACWASCO to ascertain its quality. Photos by Moses Wekesa

“Malava and Butere areas rely on boreholes and bulk water supply from Sibo Water and Sanitation Company (SIBOWASCO) which is in Siaya county that serves part of the Butere scheme,” she disclosed.

Ashiono noted that the water company will partner with Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Agency (LVNWWDA) for a bulk water supply project from River Nzoia to supply areas that are not covered. The company cannot reach all parts since most of its water is pumped through gravity.

“We are additionally finalizing the construction of a 250 cubic metres water tank at Malava, a project supported by WaterFund. The Malava project is aimed at increasing the storage to add to the existing 50 cubic meters’ water tank,” she added.

She also said that the construction of a 5-million-litres capacity water tank in Lirhanda will enable the company to serve its customers within Kakamega town and its environment on a 24-hour basis and minimize water rationing. The area has been relying on two tanks at Milimani estate which have a capacity of only 2, 250, 000 litres.

By Moses Wekesa


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