Water everywhere but not a drop in Mombasa
SEE ALSO :More players eye cooking gas pieAt the water kiosk, rows of men and women line up in narrow lanes, some sitting on their jerrycans. Others stand behind plastic drums placed strategically between their legs or in front of them. It is a scene replicated in most water kiosks across Mombasa. In estates like Kiembeni in Kisauni sub-county, many residents have been forced to relocate because of lack of water. “In Kiembeni, we have not had even a drop of water from the tap for close to three months. We prefer the ‘passport’ style’ for bathing,” said Jemimah Mwende, a resident. She says water vendors take advantage of the situation to sell the commodity at exorbitant prices. A 20 litre jerrycan of water sells for as high as Sh50 here. Water resource analysts peg the acute shortages to irregular supply, illegal connections by cartels, leakages due to old pipes and frequent disconnection because of huge debts.
SEE ALSO :Mombasa to host 79th Skal CongressDisconnected supply In January, Coast Water Services Board (CWSB), which supplies bulk water to the county’s Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company (Mowasco), disconnected the supply over a Sh1.2 billon debt. Water supply restrictions or water rations are also common in estates like Nyali and Ganjoni where residents receive the commodity three times a week. Residents here also complain about the costs. In October last year, CWSB revised bulk water tariff rate from Sh25 per a cubic metre to Sh20 but raised the tariffs county boards charge consumers from Sh100 per liter to approximately Sh150. But water resource management analysts say the biggest challenge for Mombasa is leakage due to old pipes and illegal connection linked to water cartels.
SEE ALSO :Counties Key in sports developmentMombasa County Water Executive Fatma Awale also admits that cartels run by some bottling companies are sabotaging the county’s efforts to provide the commodity. “Some bottling companies are connected illegally. The water Mowasco supplies is only meant for domestic use and not for commercial purposes,” said Awale. The county, she said, has embarked on a major crack down on uncertified water kiosk operators. Currently, Mowasco receives between 44,000 and 48,000m3 per day from CWSB against a demand of 186,000m3. “Half of the water supplied to Mowasco is lost through the leakages or illegal connection. Almost 24,000m3 is lost to water cartels and leakages, “said a former CWSB manger.