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Commercialise water, says agency

WESTERN
By By BRYAN TUMWA | November 22nd 2013

By BRYAN TUMWA

Vihiga, Kenya: A state agency has appealed to various stakeholders to work towards commercialising water services in a bid to promote sustainability of the commodity.

To achieve this, Lake Victoria North Water Services Board (LVNWSB) has begun the process of introducing public private community partnership (PPCP) in running water services, especially in rural areas, to reduce the cost to consumers as well as introduce efficiency in the sector.

The board in partnership with SNV, a not-for-profit development organisation based in the Netherlands, has been engaging communities in eight counties in the Western and North Rift region and is on the final stages of rolling out the initiative.

The counties covered include Trans Nzoia, Elgeyo/Marakwet, Uasin Gishu, Nandi, Kakamega, Busia, Bungoma and Vihiga.

Many water services in rural areas are run by community-based organisations, which in most cases are poorly monitored due to lack of professionalism arising from reliance on community volunteers.

LVNWSB Water Services Provision Manager Dickson Opiyo said with the introduction of the community partnership, water supply in rural areas will be sustainable.

“We want to introduce professionalism in the rural set-up through the PPCP concept where there are proper legal frameworks in which contracted registered firms are able to provide quality services. This will include quick response to bursts and efficiency in collection of revenue,” said Opiyo.

This comes in the wake of the devolution of the water docket, occasioning a disruption in the provision of services due to electricity disconnections at pumping stations.

Opiyo said since the national government no longer subsidises electricity bills, county governments would in essence be expected to meet the costs. Some of the water service providers that have been affected include Amatsi and Kakamega-Busia Water Services companies.

Ibrahim Oluoch, the focal person for the PPCP project, said residents in rural areas would be able to access water at a much cheaper price than it is the case at the moment.

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