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State seeks Sh300b for Coast water projects

 An ongoing construction of the Mwache Bridge in Mombasa County. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The State is seeking to partner with the private sector to implement multi-billion water projects to boost the supply of the commodity in the Coast region.

Coast Water Works Development Agency (CWWDA) estimates it will cost Sh300 billion to address water shortage in the six counties in the region.

Speaking a day after he was appointed the new CWWDA Board Chairman, Daniel Mwaringa, said the Public Private Partnership (PPP) was the way forward.

"I've been briefed on the water projects underway or planned and I'm satisfied that if implemented, the water problem will be a thing of the past," said Mwaringa.

He said the water projects were capital-intensive and that he will spearhead CWWDA to come up with innovative ways to raise the requisite capital.

Among the water projects the State plans to construct at the Coast include the Sh25 billion Mwache multipurpose dam project in Kwale County.

In 2018, the tender for the project was awarded to Sino-Hydro Corporation and Engineering. Once completed, it will supply water to Mombasa, Kwale, and Kilifi counties.

This will be key, especially for Mombasa, which does not have a source of fresh water. CWWDA supplies 42,000 cubic metres per day against a demand of 200,000 cubic metres.

Yesterday, CWWDA acting Managing Director Engineer Martin Tsuma said they require Sh270 billion to adequately cover the issues of water and waste waters.

"For water bulk supply alone, it will cost the government a whooping Sh120 billion while the wastewater master plan requires Sh140 billion," said Tsuma

He said the government will need an additional Sh5 billion for the water distribution plan and Sh12 billion for drought mitigation in the region alone.

"That is why the President has encouraged PPPs to ensure the deficits are covered. Because for the government to be able to get Sh270 billion to Sh300 billion for the Coast region only while others require similar heavy investments is a lot of money. So if we can be successful in implementing the water and waste infrastructure through the PPPs, it can bring a lot of relief," says Tsuma.

He said 220km (kilometres) Mzima pipeline to Mombasa is one of the projects the government was currently sourcing for funds through the PPPs.

"The drought mitigation master plan requires like Sh12 billion to Sh13 billion to implement, just to have some strategic water sources either small dams or boreholes so that people will find it easy to walk even if it is five kilometres to readily available water sources," says Eng Tsuma.

He said the process is at an advanced stage after undertaking an evaluation report that has already been submitted to the National Treasury, awaiting approval for the implementation to start.

Tsuma said the Coast region only receives 237 cubic meters of water against the expected 459 cubic meters from bulk water sources according to Coast Water Works Development Agency.

He stated that the deficit will be sorted once the government has finished the construction of the Mwache Dam and other major water projects across the region.

Mr Tsuma noted that the Mwache project and Mzima two project will also inject 70,000 litres into Mombasa.

"We intend to produce 105 million litres from these projects with 70,000 litres expected to get to Mombasa. It will be able to bridge the deficit but we have minor interventions related to the construction of the second Baricho Kakuyuni pipeline, which will inject 20,000 cubic meters," said Tsuma.

He observed that the project is 25 per cent done, and is being fast-tracked to be ready by July or August to inject additional volumes to Mombasa, Kilifi, and its environments.

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