Meru town residents devasted after vandals uproot Sh1.3m water pipe

The vandals uprooted and stole a section of the pipeline forcing residents to go for days without water. [Boniface Gikandi, Standard]

Vandals uprooted a large section of a water supply pipeline serving different residential areas in Meru town.

The thieves stole the metal pipeline worth Sh1.3m forcing people in residential and commercial buildings to go for days without water.

Residents in Gakoromone, Shauri Yako, Kooje and other estates in Municipality and surrounding wards were forced to go without water after the theft of part of the pipeline of the Sh874 million project, done by Tana Water Works Development Agency in partnership with the Meru government.

Meru County Urban Water and Sanitation Services Corporation's Patrick Mugendi said the agency built the project after complaining for years, about the lack of water and sewerage system.

The residents woke up to find large amounts of water had gone down the drain after the thieves stole the metal pipes, drainage covers and other pipeline equipment.

"There was a lot of loss of property and water. The vandals took away pipeline worth Sh1.3m and people went for three days without water," said Mr Mugendi, as he blew the whistle on vandals who supply a thriving demand for scrap metal.

Mugendi said the thieves who are suspected of selling the metal to the many scrap metal dealers around also uprooted a pipeline at Milimani area.

Mr Mugendi said meters, gate, covers and other equipment but appealed to residents to own the project as it was for their own benefit.

He said it cost them a lot of money to do the repairs and urged residents to partner with the police to secure the project.

"We are appealing to you to partner with us to protect this project, because a lot of resources were spent to provide water to a big population here. We want you to report anybody seen with equipment used to build the pipeline," he said.

Tana Water Works Development Agency's Erastus Waweru said man-holes had also been left without covers, posing a safety risk for locals.

"It poses a safety concern for children and even adults who accidentally slip in," Mr Waweru said at Kooje, one of the slum areas in the environs of Meru town.

A resident who asked not to be named said they suspected the thieves were people either living in the estate or neighbouring ones.

"They steal during the night, because it would be suicidal for them to do it in broad daylight. Unfortunately, we cannot freely move out in the night because we also have an insecurity challenge," he said.

He said metal dealers in Meru suspected to be buying the stolen equipment should be investigated.