Makueni county eyes share of Mzima II water

Kioko Ndambuki, a water vendor in Wote, fetches water from a shallow well dug in the bed of River Kaiti last Sunday. [Stephen Nzioka, Standard]

The county government is pushing for its residents to benefit from a water project that is targeted at neighbouring coastal counties.

Officials argue that it is unfair for the Sh42 billion Mzima II pipeline project to pass through the county yet some locals have to walk up to five kilometres in search of water.

Water and Sanitation Executive Robert Kisyula said it was absurd to have an oasis that produces 250 million litres of water daily, which would then be piped as far away as Mombasa.

“It is ridiculous to have water source in Makueni that will only benefit people living elsewhere. We are negotiating to have Makueni considered as a beneficiary of the Mzima II project,” said Mr Kisyula.

The coastal region currently gets its water from Mzima Springs through the Mzima I pipeline. The spring is one of four natural springs in Tsavo West National Park, which lie about 48 kilometres from Mtito Andei town.

Once completed, Mzima II is expected to ease pressure on the ageing Mzima I pipeline, which was built in 1957.

The proposed project has stagnated since it was launched after the county and national governments failed to allocate any money to get it off the ground.

Kisyula said they had written to Water Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui on April 15 and asked to be included in the expansive project, but they were yet to get an official response.

“In the 2019/2020 budget, we will include a budget for feasibility studies that will provide details of how much it will cost for the water to reach residents who live in sub-counties situated in the lower parts of the county.

“If this plan succeeds, it will be a game-changer and ensure an adequate supply of water for domestic use,” said Kisyula.

The county plans to install large-capacity water tanks at the elevated Komboyoo in Tsavo West National Park. The water will then flow using gravitational force to Mtito Andei town and other regions in Kibwezi East and West constituencies.

Makueni’s daily water production stands at 14,489 cubic metres of water against a huge demand of 40,794 cubic metres.

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