Today stakeholders comprising of Members of the Kisumu County Assembly, Officers from County department of Water, KIWASCO Officials together with Partners from Kenya Markets Trust (KMT) and Water Services Regulatory Authority (WASREB) met in Nakuru in collaborative effort to operationalize the regulators guidelines on provision of water services in the rural and other marginalized communities.
The review process also embraces entrenching the guidelines with legal framework and developing a regulation for its implementation.
This emanates from studies revealing that increased investment in rural water supply development by both Government and development partners has not resulted in the desired levels of anticipated service delivery.
In spite of the efforts to increase access, many rural water supplies completed have either stopped operating or are not operating optimally, and Kisumu as a county is not left behind.
It is in the light of this, that the workshop held at Eagle Palace Hotel in Nakuru aims to orientate participants on guidelines for water service provision in the rural settings, align Kisumu County water Bill to water services regulation of 2021, come up with a road map for implementing new strategy for management of rural water supplies in the county and explore modalities of ensuring increased and improved water services in Kisumu County.
While officially opening the workshop, the County Assembly Speaker, Hon Elisha Oraro pointed out the need to fast -track the realization of the water bill. Concerning the Water Act 2016, he urged the sponsor in the County Assembly to use the session to have it completed.
He advised that as the bill is reviewed there is need to be alive to the glaring gaps on rural water supply that needs to entrenched in the Water Act 2016 using appropriate model.
Concerning the 2010 Constitution, referring to Article 43 that says water is free being a basic right, the gap in the article is that the infrastructure, the electricity, the chemicals and the personnel involved in the provision are not free hence it requires a review.
The integration of water focal points he said is key to avoid duplication of activities by the water actors. He added that a water master plan should be the guiding tool to all the actors. Besides the water manual is also significant in considering where to put up infrastructure and the number of people to be served.
He however called on actors to consider maximizing the existing water infrastructure before putting up new ones for purposes of sustainability. He added that digging many boreholes is not a sustainable means in water service provision
The CECM Environment, Water, Natural Resources and Climate Change Mr. Salmon Orimba noted that commercialization of water services is said to favor urban areas since the WSPs can access commercial loans to expand services within their areas of operation. Which is in contrast to rural areas were forming a viable WSP still remains a challenge. Therefore it is critical rethink on how to sustain the supplies even before they are initiated
He further elaborated that being cognizant to the key pillars for sustainable management of water supplies, the county now has embarked on a road map towards improving sustainability of rural water and the key steps being undertaken include: ensuring existence of legal framework for management and operation of rural water supplies,adequate capacity on operation and maintenance of water supplies,involvement and active participation of all stakeholders in management of rural water supplies, availability of adequate funds for Management, operation and Maintenance of rural water,appropriate water technologies which requires low cost of operations such as solar driven water pumps and implementing viable water projects that are self-sustainable.
In his remarks, the Managing Director KIWASCO, Eng. Thomas Odongo outlined the milestones the company has realized in water service provision. Currently the area under clean water coverage is at 85% and the difference 15% is set to be completed before the end of the strategic plan
On water quality, the company is at 93 % targeting to reach 95%. However the Non-Revenue Water is still a challenge at 37%. Other challenges affecting water supply are bursts and erratic power outages.
According to Mr. Richard Cheruiyot who represented WASREB, proper legislation is key in giving guidelines on what is to be done. He added that the main concern is the lack of policy framework which should come before the Act. He advised that in order for the country to meet the universal access by 2030, there is need to move in a structured framework that will guide allocation of resources.
The KMT Organisation represented by Mr. Ronald Kubasu, said their organization envisages a sustainable water sector serving people and industries using climate resilient approaches. with the sole objective of enhancing water sector for better governance and improved operational efficiency through climate smart infrastructure and uptake of diversified financing options.
By: Emily Mikwa