Sh87m water project set to quench Kakamega town's thirst

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya at the Lirhanda water project in Shinyalu. [Benard Lusigi, Standard]

Residents of Kakamega town and its environs will start enjoying a constant supply of water in April when a Sh87 million project in Lirhanda, Shinyalu sub-County, is completed.

The facility has the capacity to hold five million litres and is expected to end frequent rationing, which residents have been protesting against.

According to Christabel Ashiono, the acting Kakamega County Urban Water and Sanitation Company (Kacowasco) chief executive officer, the project is being undertake at Tindinyo, the highest point in the county.

This will allow the water to flow using the force of gravity to cut down on pumping costs.

The water will be tapped from rivers flowing from the neighbouring Nandi County and boreholes. 

The project is 90 per cent complete.

Ashiono said the company has been relying on a storage tank in Mlimani Estate in the town with a capacity of 2,250 cubic meters.

“This is not adequate because the population is rising. Kakamega needs another major source of water and that is why the county government initiated the latest project,” she said on Monday.

“We have been forced to ration water from time to time. However, this is set to be a thing of the past starting April when the new water project will be ready.”

The company will spend another Sh12 million to repair the Tinndinyo water intake system.

According to the 2019 national census, the county has a population of 1,867,579, with about 706,926 living in Kakamega town and its environs.

Last year, Governor Wycliffe Oparanya signed into law the Kakamega County Water and Sanitation Services Bill, 2021, aimed at enhancing efficiency in the collection, processing and distribution of water.

The governor also called on Kacowasco to recover Sh167 million owed by water defaulters, money he said will help the company improve its services. 

Oparanya called on the Department of Water, Environment, Natural Resources, and Climate Change to implement his Amatsi Khumukuru initiative aimed at supplying every village with the commodity. The initiative seeks to ensure as many people as possible have water at their doorstep (khumukuru).

“Lack of proper legislation had hindered the growth of the county water services company. It had also affected its growth. As a result, my dream of having water in all homesteads is yet to be achieved,” he said.

“We will ensure each sub-County has a water project to ensure people get clean water at their doorstep.” 

Julius Mukoto, a resident of Kakamega town, said the completion of the project will cushion them from extra expenses of buying water from vendors. 

“It will also keep us from water-borne diseases that have also affected our livestock because some of the water vendors sell is contaminated,” he said.