Water board needs Sh500bn to take water to all by 2030

Children scoop water from the sand at Mwitasyano River that borders Kitui and Machakos Counties for their livelihood in Kitui on July 8, 2022. [Boniface Okendo, Standard]

Kenya's current water coverage by regulated utilities stands at 60 per cent, Water Service Regulatory Board (Wasreb) chairman Simon Gicharu has said.

Speaking during a board of directors orientation and induction seminar at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort, Mombasa, Dr Gicharu said Kenya's Vision 2030 goal for water is to achieve universal access by 2030.

"2030 is just eight years away and we are keen to achieve the target. The government has set 2027 as the target," Gicharu said.

He said that a huge financial gap of Sh500 billion stands on the way to the full actualisation of the water for all dream.

He insisted that fundamental to the mobilisation of private resources, the government resources must be used absolutely efficiently and effectively within a well-articulated policy environment.

"This will incorporate the policy approaches. Wasreb focus going forward should therefore be to require utilities to comply with operational and financial efficiency," he said.

The chairman observed that high water losses are currently exhibited at 45 per cent, which is equal to an annual loss of Sh10.5 billion.

"This is unacceptable and must be reversed," he said.

He reiterated that Wasreb has continued to be a respected regulator in the region.

"East African Community newest member, the Democratic Republic of Congo, is reforming its water sector and establishing a regulator for water services. On the 4th and 6th October Wasreb hosted a delegation from the DRC Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity to learn on best practices of regulation in the water sector. In the same breath, the Ministry of  Energy and Water Resources of Somalia will be visiting Wasreb to also learn from Kenya on the regulation of water services," Gicharu said.

He emphasized that as a board, Wasreb commits to strengthening the vision to provide a regulatory environment that facilitates efficiency, effectiveness and equity in the provision of water services in line with the human rights to water and sanitation.

Gicharu added that the choice by the two friendly states to benchmark with Wasreb as the place to learn on regulation of water services is not by default.

Gicharu said he believes the elections gave Wasreb an opportunity to streamline services in the counties by enforcing regulatory tools and issuing advisories while maintaining good relations with county chiefs through the county engagement strategy.

"At Wasreb, through our licensing and tariff setting processes, we will be expected to create and promote more public participation to give consumers an even bigger voice in matters development," he said.

He pleaded for a cordial relationship between the board and staff.

"Let us use this induction to break the ice and allow positive thoughts to fill our minds and hearts," Gicharu said.​

Wasreb is a regulatory state corporation established by the Water Act of 2002. Its main objective is to protect the interests and rights of consumers in the provision of water services. ​

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