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Water tunnel stalls over Sh3.5b to finish project

By Ndungu Gachane | June 24th 2021

On going construction works on the Northern Water Collector Tunnel which is 91 percent complete.[Ndungu Gachane]

Nairobi residents have to wait longer for water to run through their taps due to lack of Sh3.5 billion to complete the Northern Water Collector Tunnel.

The government requires the money to complete the remaining works for the project.

Nairobi gets 530,000 cubic metres of water against the required 800,000 cubic metres.

The agency’s Chief Executive Officer Mwangi Thuita said they owe the contractor Sh1.7 billion while another Sh1.5 billion is needed for land compensation and Sh700 million for the contractor managing the dam.

Addressing the Director of Nairobi Metropolitan Service (NMS) Mohamed Badi who was on an inspection tour of the tunnel, Thuita said the agency has also been slapped with a penalty of Sh160 million since 2018 by the contractor who completed the Kigoro water treatment plant after the State failed to reimburse Sh724 million VAT to him.

“The plant was completed in 2018 but the contractor could not hand over the project to us since he is yet to be reimbursed Sh724 million VAT, which he was erroneously charged. The ripple effect of that is we pay him Sh160 million every year for maintenance of the plant,” Thuita said.

He said the contractor will only do the testing and commissioning of the plant once he is paid his monies, adding the penalty will continue accruing unless the State clears the bill. 

The project was expected to be complete by August this year but due to lack of finances, the completion date remains unknown. Piping works have also delayed due to land compensation claims.

The tunnel that draws water from Maragua, Gikigie and Irati rivers and conveys the same through an 11.8km long tunnel to Ndakaini dam was set to supply an additional 140 million litres per day to more than 1.2 million residents of Nairobi and its environs.

Maj-Gen Badi said as a result of the delay in completion of the project, Nairobi continues to grapple with water shortage of about 300,000 cubic metres.

[Ndungu Gachane]


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