It is a case of water everywhere but no lean water to drink.
According to the Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (KIWASCO) Managing Director Eng David Onyango only 42 percent of the CityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s estimated populations of over 500,000 people are able to have access to piped
water,with the remaining 58 percent having to rely on either water from wells, boreholes or streams.
It is a common thing to see water vendors pulling cart and peddling water whose source remains unknown to the consumer.
Due to its scarcity the city is one of the hardest hit areas due to outbreaks of waterborne diseases such as bilharzias among others.
The worst hits are the informal settlements of Nyalenda, Manyatta and Obunga where residents rely on the untreated water drawn from the boreholes.
According to Eng Onyango the company has received the funds from the government in partnership with the Vitens Evades (European Union) in the water sector from Nyanza region.
Eng Onyango says the Dunga water plant in Kisumu City unveiled last year has also help in reducing the shortage of water, while a new water tank is to be constructed at Kibuye to address the biting water shortage in the city.
The French Development Agency funded the Dunga water treatment plant and expansion works at a tune of Shs 4 million.
The other water project is being undertaken at Kajulu under the UN Habitat project that has committed Shs 150 million.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ We have taken into account the ever rising cost of pumping water by electricity and Kajulu water treatment plant that is being constructed on Kajulu hills will use a modern gravitation technology,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
The water, he said, will flow to the city through force of gravity and hence cut on costs of production. The project is set to produce an extra 48,000 cubic meters per day to meet the current water demand.
Construction of the Kajulu water treatment plant is ongoing and is set to end soon.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Currently we are able to supply water to 42 percent of the population in Kisumu City but we hope to meet the demand by the end of completion of the water supply system,Ã¢â‚¬Â he reiterated.
Dunga system was designed in such a way that discharge of untreated waste into the lake will be a thing of the past.
According to the government plan, the construction of water treatment plants is not restricted to urban areas only.
The projects are to be rolled out in rural areas for which the governments allocate more than 10 percent of development funds.
Nyanza and parts of Rift Valley regions cater for a population of more than 7.5 million people who are to benefit from the project, says Israel Agina, KWASCO Board Chairman.
The plants will supply water to both rural and urban residents.
The MD said the African Development Bank and UN Habitat are also funding Migori, Siaya, Bondo, Homabay and Kisii water works at cost Shs 2.55 billion.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“In conjunction with the ADB we have already received Shs 1.8 billion for Keroka, Kehancha and Kericho water plants,Ã¢â‚¬Â he added.
According to the official, the water projects in Kehancha and Kericho will also use a modern technology where water will be drawn through gravitational force to pipes.
These two water plants are expected to produce 46,000 cubic meters per day.
The Kisumu water and Sewerage Company are also working with the Lake Victoria south water service, where their customers will now start paying their sewerage and water bills by M-PESA.
But if the recent Shs 50 million water projects launched at Manyatta estate for Capacity Building in Sustainable Development of Water Infrastructure is anything to go by, then the city is set to get a new lease of life.
This will reduce the cases of huge water loss in the city and its environs.
However, KIWASCO Board Chairman Mr Agina revealed that the shortage of water is credited to huge water loss due to the bursting of pipes, vandalism of meters among others.
Therefore the governments in partnership with the European Union now want to stop this by maintenance of the existing water pipes and construction of new water sewerage system.
The four year water project launched intends to run a pilot in Manyatta, taking a slightly different approach with the aim of further reducing the loss.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Our water loss management program has focused on two broad areas, physical and commercial,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Agina.
The physical water loss strategies include quick repair of leaks and bursts, proper installation standards, pressure
management and localization of losses.
On the managing commercial losses, KIWASCO plans to include metering complete metering, illegal connections management and timely meter reading and production of accurate bills to improve water accessibility.
The other strategy is the streamlining connection process to encourage connectivity to curb the huge water loss in the city especially in informal settlement areas.
However water loss is the major challenge to utilities over the world. In fact the scale of the problem is so huge that it caught the attention of the World Bank that estimated the annual loss at over 8 billion dollars with loss in Africa being 580 million dollars.
The KIWASCO Managing Director says that the water loss has led to the company losing a total of 10 million every year in terms of revenue collection.
To curb the water shortage the launched Non Revenue Water project to be undertaken at Manyatta will see 30-40 percent people to have a clean and safe water supply.
This will be in addition to the 10 water kiosks in the estate that had earlier been erected last year.
Eng Onyango revealed that Non Revenue Water will basically target the low income people especially in the informal settlements of Manyatta, Nyalenda and Obunga.
In achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the government in partnership with other European Union partner also plans to roll down the Non revenue Water system in all the estate in Kisumu City.
But the asset renewal to replace aged assets has been slow in the country for example in Kisumu over 80 percent of the network is more than 50 years old. This government has started to revamp to modern systems.
These are asbestos, concrete and GI pipes first constructed when the city began.
In 2004, KIWASCO started operations and was above 60 percent in water accessibility but due to huge loss this was brought down to 38 percent. Therefore launched and the ongoing water treatment plant construction will improve water accessibility to 70 percent upon their completion.
Despite of the efforts by the government to achieve water supply in the urban areas rural, already the plans and feasibility studies going on to ensure water is even piped to rural residents in a bid to achieve the KenyaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Vision 2030.
Source : africanews.com