, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 15 – Provision of regular water supply to households, completing construction of 60 mega dams spread all over the country and the resolution of the sharing of revenue between water resources management agencies is one of the pillars the Water and Irrigation Ministry will be judged on as the country awaits to know the fate of incumbent Cabinet Secretary, Eugene Wamalwa.
During his assumption to office, Wamalwa pledged to implement the government’s plan to make Nairobi and other cities water sufficient by the year 2020.
The plan to increase water supply to the four big towns is part of the government’s initiative to triple the country’s water storage and to also increase the national water coverage from the current 60 per cent to 80 per cent by 2020.
The government is working to plug the 250 million litre water deficit the capital city faces.
But, Murang’a Senator and Senate Majority Deputy Whip Irungu Kang’ata cites the on-going debate on whether the Murang’a County Government should charge for the dam’s water as a case study.
Kang’ata said he will introduce a Bill in the Senate that seeks to give the County Government control over water resources.
The Bill, Kang’ata said, will help the County Government get revenue from the water that is supplied to Nairobi by the Athi Water Services Board.
This debate was sparked off by the multi-billion shilling construction of the Northern Collector Tunnel in 2015.
His Nyandarua counterpart Mwangi Githiomi, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Lands and Natural Resources weighs in about the water problems facing residents despite the county being the main source of water for other counties.
“The sharing of natural resources between the County and National Government is one of the issues we will have to handle. For example in my county we have water that has been developed in various places like Njambini and that water comes to Nairobi and is consumed in Nairobi. The Nairobi County Government charges for that water but Nyandarua County doesn’t get a cent from the funds.”
“We also have the Malewa Water Project which supplies water to Nakuru and Baringo Counties, and the people there are charged for that water, but Nyandarua does not get a cent, so what we are asking is an obvious matter that must be handled,” he said.
The two leaders have intensified their demand that benefitting counties be charged for every drop of water drawn from Nyandarua.
They argue that CS Wamalwa’s plea for ‘brotherly dialogue’ between the concerned counties has not bore fruits since last year.
The proposed Kinja dam in Nyandarua will be developed across Kinja River and inside the Aberdare forest.
The dam that will supply water by gravity to 80,000 people is expected to bring to an end acute water shortage problems experienced in North-Kinangop sub-county as their current sources – Engineer Town water supply and Mutamayu water projects are old and designed to serve less than 30 per cent of the areas current population.
The Ministry of Water and Irrigation has often blamed politicians for derailing the completion of the projects.
The stand-off between Wamalwa and former Irrigation Principal Secretary Patrick Mwangi in the award of a contract to a Chinese firm the World Bank and the African Development Bank which had been blacklisted over integrity issues also affected timely kick-off of the project.
The government has invested in the Sh6 billion Northern Water Collector Tunnel that harnesses 142,000 cubic meters of water from rivers Maragua, Gikigie and Irati and drains it into Ndakaini.
The tunnel is funded by the World Bank and is expected to greatly boost water supply in the city of Nairobi.