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THIWASCO Promises Uninterrupted Water Supply Soon.

It is no longer news that Thika residents have been experiencing occasional water outages that interrupt their day to day running of affairs. Various estates have been going without water for a while or experiencing low water pressure due to this problem.

This prompted Thika Town Today to visit the town’s water providers, Thika Water & Sewerage Company (THIWASCO) for answers.

“Every day, we supply over 35,000 cubic metres of drinking water to homes and businesses around Thika and its environs. The water supply is available at least 99.7% of the time across our entire water network. Our water is among the world's best. We test water quality at every stage before it arrives at your tap. However, sometimes water supply is interrupted due to unforeseen ruptures or other issues. When this happens, we work very fast to restore services as soon as possible,” said Moses Kinya, THIWASCO Managing Director in his office.

Kinya explained that water supply is usually designed on the population demand of a city adding that Thika has of late experienced an outlying population surge that was previously not the tread. He said that the current water supply plant was designed in the pre-independence era and meant to serve quite a sizable number of people.

He added that they have been able to utilise it to its maximum capacity of between 35,000-40,000 cubic metres of water a day, simply translating to the fact that the demand matched the supply.

“Since the launch of the Thika Superhighway in 2009, Thika Town has been a rapidly growing city, facing its own share of the challenges of urbanisation and unexpected rapid development.  The demand for water has continued to grow, putting great pressure on our infrastructure’s capability to provide water services to the greater Thika region,” said Kinya.

Overall, the available infrastructure is insufficient and may not exactly keep up with the needs of this rapidly growing population. Despite its rapid population growth, the same water provisioning system that was built to serve Thika’s population of roughly 1,000 households in the 1950s is still being used by THIWASCO today to serve the same number of households in Thika Town and its subsidiaries that include areas as far as Mwea Trading Centre on your way to Mang’u, Thika Greens Estate on the Thika-Kandara Road, Witeithie, Kilimambogo and Magogoni in Thika East District.

According to Kenya’s 2009 census, Thika has a population of over 200,000 and this number may vary upwards due to the latest influx of people into the town.

While the facility is currently operating at maximum capacity and adequately supplying water to over 90% across their entire water network at any given time, any interruption of operations for about an hour or so results to total water outages and interruptions that may be experienced for up to two or three days.

“We do not have a water reservoir in Thika. We totally depend on the river flow. Thika consumes all the water we produce daily, I mean, our demand equals the supply. Our greatest challenge is therefore keeping our existing water resources. In case of any interruption, say power failure for about an hour, the effects of that interruptions can be felt for even three days,” said the MD.

The water scarcity is mostly man-made due to excess population growth. The available infrastructure is hampered by capacity obstacles and lack of funding for expansion of the production. This problem has continually been compounded with increased concretisation due to urban development that has choked their water resources. Hence, THIWASCO is faced by two significant challenges as it endeavours to improve service provision: rapid urbanisation and rapid decentralization.

According to the MD, they are currently in talks with both with the National Government and the County Government of Kiambu to develop plans for improved services to the community.

“We operate and maintain our network to ensure water is delivered in accordance with our customer charter. We have sent proposals both to the county government and the national government for funding to enable us expand our plant as well as our production capacity,” said Kinya.

However, Kinya maintained that as a community, we had not yet fully exploited all the available water such as the untapped underground water which was plenty but yet to be used.

Reports elsewhere indicate that plans were in the pipeline by the national government dig up a dam in Kariminu area to arrest the waters of Kariminu River, a project that will help THIWASCO manage to supply enough water to its network without any interruption. Our sources confided to us that there were plans too to build another dam at the intersection of Kiama and Thika Rivers as a long-term measure to alleviate the challenges of water supply in the greater Thika network.

The plans are in their initial stages and will be unveiled when talks between the relevant stakeholders are complete and funding by the National Government and an international donor are made available.

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