• April 20, 2024
  • Last Update April 20, 2024 7:31 PM
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Migori County’s efforts to raise revenue from water supply

Migori County’s efforts to raise revenue from water supply

Migori

Thursday, April 04, 2024

KNA by Geoffrey Makokha/George Agimba

Non-revenue water (NRW) is one of the biggest water problems that Kenya is struggling to address especially in urban centres that continues to deprive Counties of actual revenue while denying the majority of the urban dwellers the precious commodity.Non-revenue water (NRW) is water that has been produced at the source and is lost before it reaches the customer; always calculated as the difference in percentage between the volume of water that enters the distribution system and the volume that is billed to customers.

The perennial water shortages and scarcity within municipalities in Migori County, for instance and, mainly Migori, Awendo, Rongo and Kehancha towns, have always been a major challenge to the area leadership and the County must strive not to waste again a single drop through the Non-revenue water route.

However, for now, residents of these municipalities will continue to experience water shortages from the fact that the County is currently experiencing a whopping 48 percent of Non-Revenue Water, a worrying statistic that shows nearly half of what produced at water points gets, lost before it reaches the final designation.

According to Migori County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Water and Energy, Christopher Rusana, the Non-Revenue water has greatly affected the region’s supply that is regulated by water companies.

Rusana attributes the major reasons for high Non-Revenue water in the County to wastage through leakages, dilapidated water infrastructure, lack of billing or poor billing, revenue stealing and faulty water meters.

The County is regrettably losing on income collection because nearly half of what is produced at the water source end up unbilled due to high Non-Revenue water factor.

This means that in every litre of water produced at the source, only a half reaches the consumer while a quarter is what is billed.

Non-revenue water is the biggest threat to municipal water systems in the Kenya, but losing half of what is produced further elaborates the seriousness that Migori County faces.

Three years ago the County faced a lot of bills, especially from Kenya Power and Lighting Company and, at one time, hitting over 10 million due to increases in water production costs that can be directly attributed to Non-revenue water factors and, that keep on reducing water supply and efficiency in municipalities.

In February this year, Migori County through the Department of Water, held a consultative meeting with a delegation from Safaricom Kenya in partnership with Earthview Limited and USAID – Western Kenya Water Project to introduce smart water meters in the water production systems, District Metering areas and Last Miles Connectivity.

The team focused most on the water service providers in the County, namely Migori Water and Sanitation Company (MIWASCO) and Nyasare Water Supply and Sanitation Company (NYAWASSCO) that were tasked to lead in the implementation of the endeavour.

In 2021, the Migori water supply system had the capability of serving more than 200,000 residents but with slightly over 10,000 connections that poorly served around 50,000 consumers within Migori town and its suburbs.

Through this kind of partnership, Rusana says that the County is now on the right track in addressing the high Non-revenue water currently being experienced in Migori to ensure operational efficiency in the water systems.

The smart water meter innovative approach will modernize the water sector in the County through real-time monitoring, efficient management, and sustainable supply and provide residents with a dependable water supply while generating revenue for the County.

The official discloses that the Smart meters will help detect and minimize water losses due to leaks and theft leading to a more efficient use of water and billing system.

Even as the issue of high Non-revenue water is being addressed, the County needs to address key issues in solving the water storage in the area.

The need to establish water population supply, Per capita water consumption, total water consumption and the system input water volume are key factors if a County wants to achieve sustainable water flow for its citizens.

“In the next few months we will ensure the high Non-revenue water that stands currently at 48 percent is drastically reduced to maximize the revenue and provide better water services to the county residents”, affirmed Rusana.

On the issues of water tariffs, Rusana said that the water department will be guided by water laws in coming up with new official water tariffs as guided by the Water Act of 2016 and the Water Sector Regulation Board.

The Water Act of 2016 provides for the regulation, management and development of water resources, water and sewerage services; and other connected purposes for the benefit of the citizens.

Apart from trying to solve the high Non-revenue water in municipalities and urban centres, Migori County is also focusing on rural water schemes to help the rural dwellers access clean water.

AccordRusana adds that the County will be validating water tariffs for the rural water schemes to ensure its sustainability in serving the residents of the rural areas.

Migori County Chief Officer for Water and Energy Charles Chacha, notes that 67 water projects are currently underway with the majority of the projects being in the rural areas.

Chacha says that the County wants to do quality water projects that will be sustainable for years to come and benefit future generations by providing clean and safe water as well as irrigation for food production.

This year alone, the County has launched two water projects, the Shs 3 Million rural water project for residents of Nyamosense/Komosoko in Kuria West Sub County and the Sota Water Pan in Got Kachola Ward in Nyatike sub-County.

The Nyamosense/Komosoko project will serve an already established Karamu slaughterhouse in the area as well as supply water to area residents, while the expansion and rehabilitation of Sota Water Pan in Got Kachola Ward in Nyatike funded by the county and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) will help in irrigation and provision of clean water to both humans and livestock.

Migori has also seen other agencies step in to provide water through borehole drilling.

The most notable one is the Turkish Embassy to Kenya which has been partnering with Migori Member of Parliament Ms. Fatuma Mohammed in providing water, especially in the semi-arid area of Nyatike.

Chacha affirma that the water department is committed to ensuring the county residents access clean water to improve the living standards of the rural dwellers as well as improve crop productivity in the County.

He explains that water committees drawn from the community will always be established after the completion of every rural water point for project sustainability.

“The rural water schemes will be managed by local committees drawn from their community with the mandate of managing water points and water tariffs agreed upon by the water beneficiaries”, said Chacha.

Courtesy; KNA

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