Water to cost 75pc more as new tariffs take effect
County governments have rejected plans by the Water Resources Authority to implement new tariff adjustments on water and sewerage charges that could see consumers paying up to 75 per cent more.
In the proposed tariff adjustments, Water Service Providers will be required to pay Sh5 per cubic metre per month for water charges from the current five cents.
The Water Service Providers Association (Waspa) has said the new tariffs will force consumers to dig deeper into their pockets to access the basic commodity.
The tariff became effective on February 1, 2023, and could see consumers pay double the charges for water.
Those connected to sewerage infrastructure will pay an additional 75 per cent of the amount charged for water.
For instance, water consumers in Kakamega County who use between 1-6 cubic metres of water and pay Sh430 plus an additional Sh50 for the meter could end up paying double the amount.
The move has drawn criticism from Waspa Chairman Moses Kinya who has asked county governments to challenge the new tariffs.
Kakamega Governor Fernandes Barasa said the 47 governors were in talks to send back the new proposal for a review, considering that counties were faced with delayed disbursement of funds from the National Treasury.
“Increasing water and sewerage services from five cents to Sh5 will be overburdening the consumers who are already struggling against harsh economic times. As governors, we shall issue a comprehensive statement next week to challenge the decision which will be punitive to ordinary Kenyans,” said Mr Barasa.
He said the Council of Governors will take up the matter and discuss it with regulators and review the proposed tariff change.
“The increase is not acceptable considering the Kenya Kwanza administration promised a bottom-up economic transformation model that starts from the grassroots. There is no way we can spur economic growth when water is expensive for the ordinary Kenyan,” said Governor Barasa.
He said the proposed rates also contravene the Constitution and intend to punish water consumers across the country.
“Article 3(d) of the Constitution states that every person has a right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities and assigns the responsibility of provision of water and sanitation services to county governments. This is further supported by the County Governments Act, 2012 in which the provision of water and sanitation is indeed a devolved function. As governors, we shall not accept our people to be hurt by the new tariff,” said Mr Barasa.
Water service providers drawn from Lake Victoria North, Lake Victoria South, Lake Victoria Central, Northern, Tanathi, Coast, Rift Valley North and Athi said the water resources regulations would impact negatively communities.
Mr Kinya said in Kiambu County, Thika Water and Sewerage Company, which was paying Sh7 million annually, will be forced to pay over Sh70 million if the new tariff is implemented.
“That is why we are raising this matter to the governors and other stakeholders, including international bodies, to help us overcome the challenge of water resource regulations. This was not factored in our tariffs and will make the essential commodity very costly to our consumers,” said Mr Kinya.
Kakamega Water and Sanitation Company Chief executive Christabel Ashiono said the new tariff is going to increase the water charges beyond the reach of ordinary consumers.
“If the proposed tariff review of Sh5 per cubic metre by the regulator will remain unchanged, it will translate to Sh1,944,000 per month and Sh23,328,000 per year as water use charges for the water company in Kakamega County,” said Ms Ashiono.
She said the new tariff further requires all permit holders to pay a five per cent levy on the monthly water use charge as a water conservation levy.