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Machakos County residents suffer as water shortage bites

Residents of Kyaume in Matungulu sub-county line up for water provided, free of charge, by local businessman Charles Kilonzo. Residents have been forced to walk long distances in search of water after a major shortage hit parts of the county. (PHOTO: ERASTUS MULWA/ STANDARD)

Residents have been forced to walk long distances in search of water after a major shortage hit parts of the county. 

Those living in towns are the hardest hit with a 20-litre container retailing at up to Sh30.

The most affected areas are Mavoko, Machakos Town, Tala, Matuu and Masinga.

In Machakos town's Katoloni suburb, residents are forced to wake up early and line up for many hours to buy water.

A water vendor at the shopping cenre said she serves up to 500 people a day.

In Matungulu sub-county, residents of Kyaume are camping at a water point by the roadside.

However, Water and Irrigation Executive Kioko Luka said the county government has taken measures to improve water supply.

He said they have set aside 1.9 billion in the current financial year to finance water projects.

"Part of the money will be used to support required infrastructure for provision of water in villages throughout the county," Luka said yesterday.

He added: "We are drilling more boreholes and building dams that will be used in harvesting water. This will ensure as many people as possible are connected to water supply."

However, Deputy Governor Bernard Kiala attributed the biting water shortage to poor planning by the county government.

Kiala lamented that residents continue to suffer yet the county government has spent about Sh5 billion on water projects since it came to power in 2013.

The region has generally been facing water shortages for decades now.