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Nakuru households set to benefit from Sh500 million emergency water program

RIFT VALLEY
By Patrick Vidija | November 17th 2021

Athi Water CEO Eng Micheal Thuita (Centre) and a team of other engineers inspecting the Kihoto Weter Project in Naivasha Sub-County where several elevated water tanks have so far been erected.

Over 100,000 households in Nakuru County are set to benefit from a national government emergency water extension program.

The Sh500 million projects targeting densely populated and low-income areas in the area aims to supply an additional 30,000 cubic meters per day to cushion the County from the ever-rising demand for water.

The project is being implemented by the national government through Athi Water Works Development Agency and will see a total of 50 boreholes sunk in the larger Nakuru region including Naivasha’s Kihoto slums, Karati-Delamere, and Wei-Maseno dispensary in Subukia Constituency.

Athi Water Works Development Agency CEO Michael Thuita said the project is currently 55 per cent complete and will go a long way in improving the general well-being of Nakuru residents.

“We are planning to complete this program in less than three months. As we all know, water is an important commodity in human life and the impact is going to be huge as we are going to reduce the time lost by the community in fetching water,” said Thuita.

The CEO said time lost in the search for water can be used to engage in other economic activities.

“We will also provide kiosks to low-income areas and informal settlements where they will be able to draw water at very low cost or no cost at all,” Thuita added.

This comes after the Senate adopted a report tabled by the House Devolution Committee that recommended Nakuru Municipality to become the fourth city in Kenya after Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

The adoption now awaits President Uhuru Kenyatta’s final approval.

The county however falls short of adequate daily water supply with the demand estimated to be 70,000 cubic metres per day.

Data from Nakuru Urban Water and Sanitation Company, NAWASCO, indicates that the current supply stands at 40,000 cubic metres and with the town’s status about to be elevated, partnerships among utilities and other government agencies are crucial to avoid rampant rationing.  

“The day’s population in the city is slightly over a million compared to night’s population of about 530,000 people. With the increase in water available it means we will be supplying close to 95% of that population with that water,” said NAWASSCO managing director James Ng’ang’a.

In Naivasha Sub-County for instance, one of the targeted areas is Kihoto slums, a low-income area with a population of about 20,000 inhabitants.

The area has for a long time been faced with water and sanitation challenges that have not only affected their day-to-day activity but also threatened the lives of some of its residents. 

While calling on both National and County governments to expedite the mitigation measures,  Kihoto location sub-chief Philip Mariri said the saline water has affected their social life and killed the dreams of their children.

“Our children have been affected by the water in this area. Most of them suffer from tooth decay and as such, they rarely even succeed in police recruitments because they are not strong enough and their teeth do not meet the required standards,” said Mariri.

Naivasha Sub-County is the biggest beneficiary of the emergency extension program with 16 boreholes sunk so far in different schools, slums and health facilities. 

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