Through the efforts of the Embu County government, 50,000 residents now have access to treated water. This is after the Embu Water and Sanitation Company (Ewasco) - a fully county government-owned entity, completed the installation of a Sh112 million pipeline in a project commissioned by Governor Martin Wambora recently.
The 29-kilometre Kiamuringa-Muchonoke and Don Bosco-Meka water pipeline project, which began in July 2014, will now make it easier for those who want piped water from the Nthawa, Muminji, Mavuria and Kiambere wards to get it.
The county says the coverage will be expanded to other areas. “We will finance these projects from the county budget or through public-private partnerships. We gave Ewasco a free hand in managing the project and it was successful,” Wambora said.
The project is a boon for local people. Ewasco Managing Director Hamilton Karugendo says residents used to buy water at Sh2,000 per cubic metre before the project was commissioned but now pay only Sh33 for the same amount of piped water which comes right up to their homes or can be obtained for Sh100 from nearby water kiosks.
This has lowered the cost of running institutions that need water. Moshe Musyoka, the Principal Nyangwa Boys High School, says that previously the cost of paying for water placed an enormous strain on their budget. Furthermore, the supply was so erratic that school was forced to send students to fetch water at water kiosks, says Musyoka. “Because water is more readily available, personal hygiene among students has improved considerably, said the principal.
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The situation was so dire previously that some schools in Kiambere and Gangara area would close earlier due to a water shortage.The problems villagers faced was not just from from these shortages. Sospeter Kithumbu from Gachoka says the water they got from wells was sometimes contaminated, and outbreaks of water-borne diseases were not uncommon.