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Kenyan government unveils Sh181b water master plan

By Graham Kajilwa | June 23rd 2016

Four counties are set to benefit from a Sh181 billion water master plan unveiled by the national government.

The project, which will benefit close to six million people in Murang'a, Kiambu, Kajiado and Nairobi, aims to have piped water at the doorstep of households by 2017.

This will be done through restoration and building of new transmission lines, renovation of sewage systems, dams, and upgrading of infrastructure of water companies across the counties.

Nairobi County will be the biggest beneficiary with its capacity increased by 140,000 cubic metres to cover the current shortage of 200,000, with a keen interest in informal settlements and business areas.

"We already have initiatives in Kibera and Kayole to improve sanitation and access to clean water at an affordable price," said Athi Water Board Chair Wachira Keen.

In Nairobi, the project will be implemented in line with the city's water master plan to realise 60 million litres daily supply by 2017 and meet 1.2 billion litres daily by 2035.

Funded jointly by the Kenyan government and other partners among them World Bank, European Union, and Belgian government, the master plan is also set to push access to water to 80 per cent in the next two years.

"...and by 2030, we should be at 100 per cent with every household in Kenya having running water," said Mr Keen.

Some of the ongoing projects under the master plan include Murang'a, Gatanga, and Gatango water supply projects through a Sh1.2 billion funding from World Bank which Keen noted will benefit some 290,000 residents of Murang'a County.

There are also 11 projects worth Sh50 billion under implementation, with another eight under preparation worth Sh131 billion under the stem water master plan that provides the road map to water security until year 2035.

Water Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa said although the country has improved in water security to almost 60 per cent, sanitation levels were still wanting at 22 per cent.

"There is a lot of unnecessary wastage of unused water (over 30 per cent) yet there are some Kenyans who walk miles to search for water," said Mr Wamalwa.

Gatanga MP Humphrey Kimani complained that some of the projects being implemented end up benefiting non-local residents.

"My constituents have no water yet they see piped water from the area dams like Ndakaini going to Nairobi," said Mr Kimani.

Wamalwa promise to rectify the injustice, saying the biggest challenge for his ministry was inadequate resources.

"Every Kenyan has a right to clean safe water but that is not free. We need funding to make sure this is realised," he said.

He called for fast-tracking of the Water bill to facilitate policies in this project.

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