State, county in plans to end perennial water shortages

Machakos Water

A man drives donkeys pulling a cart along Machakos-Nairobi highway on May 15, 2019.

Photo credit: Sila kiplagat | Nation Media Group

 A master plan to end perennial water shortage in the county is under development following the signing of an agreement with the national government to enhance cooperation in resource mobilisation and management of water resources.

The plan includes the construction of Yatta dam, which is a Vision 2030 project that has failed to take off for the last decade owing to a dispute over land compensation and upgrading of the Masinga dam intake.

Already, Sh15 billion has been allocated for the construction of the reservoir designed to draw its water from Thika river. Some Sh300 million will fund the expansion of the Masinga dam.

The efforts to sort out the water shortage, which began with Governor Wavinya Ndeti's meeting with President William Ruto at State House Nairobi last week, was crystallised in a follow-up visit by Water and Sanitation Principal Secretary Kiprono Rono to Machakos on Monday.

“I have submitted a proposal to the PS detailing all water projects in Machakos County for necessary support. We will also submit a water master plan for Machakos County to the national government,” said Ms Ndeti after meeting the PS.

The meeting was also attended by Yatta MP Basil Ngui, Woman Rep Joyce Kamene and Senator Agnes Kavindu. The PS was accompanied by high-ranking officials in the Water ministry, including directors and CEOs of parastatals.

Masinga dam, which has a capacity of 11,000 cubic metres, will be expanded to a capacity of 18,000 cubic metres and have an additional line to serve the residents of Machakos.

Currently,the line which serves a section of residents of Masinga sub-county is managed by Kitui county under the Kitui Water and Sewerage Company.

The two levels of government for the first time agreed that a water line from Masinga dam will be managed by the Yatta Water Company for the benefit of Machakos County residents.

The issue has been contentious ever since the dam was constructed with a direct line serving Kitui County providing 60 per cent of the water while a section of Masinga residents pay fees to Kitui County for 40 per cent of the piped water.

According to the agreement, the national government will source for funds to implement the water projects identified, while the county government will step up collection of revenue from water use through automation.

The devolved unit will also seek support from the private sector through a public-private partnerships.

Ms Ndeti asked the national government to fast track the construction of the proposed Yatta dam in order to alleviate water scarcity in the region.

Both the PS and the governor appealed to the parties involved in a suit regarding compensation to agree without further delay in order to pave way for the construction.

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