Embu Water and Sanitation Company (Ewasco) has announced plans to construct four mega water tanks in the county to connect more people to clean water.
The Sh120 million project will involve the construction of five-million-litre reinforced concrete tanks in Evurore, Borrow Pit, Kiambere and Cianyi localities.
These will hold some 20 million litres of water to be used in times of shortages.
According to Ewasco acting managing director Felix Gitonga, the county government shall provide Sh80 million for the project while the water firm will provide the balance.
“The water tanks will act as reservoirs in those areas. When the tanks are full and there is rationing from the main pipes, the customers served from the point of the tanks will not be affected. We target to reach more customers in the process,” said Mr Gitonga.
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The water firm is also counting on a World Bank subsidy to complete a sewerage project currently ongoing at Embu town.
The water company also plans to rehabilitate several boreholes that have fallen into disuse.
According to Gitonga, the mega tanks and the boreholes projects were borne out of the realisation that relying on rivers alone as sources of water for an increasing number of customers was no longer feasible.
The rehabilitated boreholes are expected to use solar powered water pumps to lower operation costs.
On rising water bills that have generated concern from a number of residents, the water firm said the tariffs were revised upwards last year following a public participation forum.
“In addition, we realised some customers were living in areas that are connected to the sewerage system and yet they were not charged for the service. We have included them in that charge which is 75 per cent of the water bill,” said Gitonga.
He said the tariff increase factored the current economic realities where operating expenses, which mainly include cost of equipment, chemicals, and remuneration, have risen compared to nine years ago when the old tariff was adopted.
He said the enhanced income will enable the company to expand water supply to connect new consumers while meeting the needs of those in urban areas. Gitonga also promised that the billing system will be fully automated.