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Nakuru, Nairobi counties have vowed not to pay for water

By -JAMES MUNYEKI | Aug 9th 2013 | 2 min read


Nyandarua County: Nyandarua County government’s proposal to charge for water drawn from within county limits has not been received well by its neighbours.

With the agriculture rich county seeking to charge 50 cents for every cubic litre of water supplied to other counties, the affected regions want the Government to intervene.

The biggest casualties will be Nairobi and Nakuru counties which draw most of their water from Nyandarua, which is home to the Aberdare Range.

Kinangop’s Sasumua Dam, the second largest in the country, was built 50 years ago and supplies two-thirds of the water to the Kabete reservoir, from where it is distributed to the city.

The new fee is set to aggravate relations between the counties as both Nairobi and Nakuru have vowed not to comply.

The management of both counties has insisted that it was a matter that should be decided by the national government. If implemented, there are fears that the burden might be passed over to the consumers.

Nairobi County gets half of its water from Sasumua Dam while River Malewa (sourced in the Aberdare Range) supplies water to Nakuru County. A third of water supplied to Nakuru is also drawn from River Turasha in Nyandarua.

According to George Kimani, the Nyandarua County Executive committee member in charge of public service, the move has been fronted to raise for funds for the county’s development.

Charge ocean

If implemented, he said, the county will earn over Sh1 billion per year from the sale of water.

“This is a resource that has not been tapped and it is now time that every county depends on itself,” he said. Kimani noted that the move was proposed after residents complained that they did not benefit from their own resources as they did not have tapped water in their homes, something which  might be corrected next month.

Both Nairobi and Nakuru have opposed the move terming it illegal.

Nakuru Rural Water and Sanitation company Managing Director Eng Willy Kamau, said they are yet to deliberate on the matter as they have not received any official communication from Nyandarua. If this happens, he said they would await a directive from the national government, since water  is a natural resource.

“Natural resources fall under the national government and this will be one of the trans-boundary issues that need interpretation by the national government,” he told The Standard.

On his part, Nairobi Water and Sanitation Managing Director Eng Philip Gichuki said that this was of no concern to company as it was a matter that is to be decided by the national government. “These resources are supposed to be shared by all Kenyans as they are natural. What will happen if we don’t consume the water? It will just go to the ocean and they cannot charge the ocean,” he observed.

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