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Ministry urges contractors to speed-up water projects

Principal Secretary Water and Sanitation Dr. Kipronoh Rono has urged all contractors in Machakos County to fast-track the completion of water projects in the county.

Speaking at the Governor’s office in Machakos Monday during a site visit of ongoing water projects in the county, PS Kipronoh said the government has invested a lot of money on delayed programs.

Principal Secretary Water Dr. Kipronoh Rono and Machakos Governor Wavinya Ndeti after signing the MoU on the expansion of the Masinga Dam for Machakos and Kitui counties. In the middle is the Acting County Commissioner David Rotich. Photo by Anne Kangero

“I know there are projects that have stalled, some are near completion and some far from completion and so we are giving a directive to all water contractors to speed up and complete the implementation of those programs,” said Kipronoh.

He noted that some contractors have abandoned their projects, while others have gone to court to complain and others have abandoned the projects after being paid.

“Those contractors should know this is a different administration and as we move across the country as Ministry of Water, we will be inspecting those projects and if we find a contractor has delayed a project for no reason then he will have to answer,” emphasized Kipronoh.

He warned contractors against shoddy work and escalation of prices noting that those engaging in such practices will be blacklisted.

The PS reiterated that the country will not use tax payer’s money to pay for projects that are never completed adding that all projects will be scrutinized to ensure people get value for money going forward.

Kipronoh who presented a Memorandum of Understanding between the Machakos and Kitui county governments pledged that the national government will expand the capacity of Masinga Dam so as to address the increasing demand for water in the counties.

“Masinga Dam needs to be upgraded to provide 18000 cubic meters of water from the current 11000 cubic meters in order to boost the water supply in Machakos County,” pointed out the PS.

He added that Machakos County will control 40 per cent of the water from the Masinga Dam which will be managed by Yatta Water Company, while Kitui will retain 60 per cent under the Kitui Water and Sanitation Company.

Kipronoh noted that this decision was arrived at since previously Kitui Water Company held full control over the project and was selling water to Yatta Water Company.

He added that this time round there will be water in schools that will serve the communities around so that people will not travel far to look for water.

“For any borehole that is drilled in school, we will make sure it has a meter and serves an estimated number of 200 homes with piped water. The water resources authority will make sure that they have proper governance to allow schools to bring water to nearby villages,” said Kiprono.

The PS further added that to effectively get more water for the county, there were a number of programs that have been identified for upgrading and distilling such as the Mavoko water project and Stoni Athi, Ngalalia dam and borehole, Muoni, Maruba, Kaswitu, and Daribu dams.

On her part, Governor Wavinya Ndeti urged the national government to fast-track the construction of the Yatta dam, which she said was important for facilitating farming through the Yatta canal.

She added that as a county government, they are ready to partner with the national government as well as other development partners to achieve their common goals.

Wavinya said that water shortage in the county has continued to affect the livelihoods of more than 1.4 million people. She disclosed that more than 90 per cent of food production activities in the county are purely dependent on rain-fed agriculture noting that the absence of sufficient rains has dealt a big blow to agriculture.

She said that the same crisis has also triggered a depletion of surface water facilities including dams, water pans, weirs, and even canals which no longer have the capacity to support sustainable agriculture.

Wavinya noted that she has directed the County department of Water to develop a policy framework that will be used to address the water needs of the county.

The delegation later toured Maruba Dam, Machakos water and Sewerage Company, Masinga Dam, Yatta Canal, and Ngoliba Dam.

By Rachael Kilonzo and Anne Kangero

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