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Water agency in cash crunch as unpaid bills hit Sh1.9 billion

By Isaiah Gwengi | May 16th 2016

The Water Resources Management Authority (Warma) has said it is owed Sh1.9 billion by customers.

According to CEO Joseph Olum, the outstanding amount as at December 31, 2015, is owed mostly by State institutions.

“Government facilities are the ones that owe us the bigger portion of the accumulated debt,” said Mr Olum. He was speaking during the opening of a consultative workshop on River Yala Integrated Management Plans in Bondo last week.

The CEO said that apart from the outstanding debt, the water management agency is also facing a serious deficit in terms of funding, which is making its work difficult.

“Despite the huge outstanding debt, the Government has only been allocating 1 per cent of the total budget to us,” he said.

This translates to an average of Sh300 million a year against a budget proposal of Sh1.5 billion, which Warma says it needs to effectively carry out its mandate.

The authority’s financial administration manager, James Ambuso, called on other stakeholders to help finance water management.

“Since the Government is unable to fund the activities effectively, county governments and development partners, among other stakeholders, are invited to help in funding water resources activities,” he said.

Mr Ambuso added that competing water agencies had also been a challenge to their operations.

“We are currently experiencing double-charging because of the emerging water agencies,” he said. Warma identifies itself as the lead national agency in water resources management.

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