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This Is Why You Will Pay More For Water Starting This Fiscal Year.

Peter Beryoets Drinking water from a public tap provided free of charge by THIWASCO for the citizens of Thika

The Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB) is in the process of giving Thika Water and Sewerage Company (THIWASCO) a conditional approval for a planned tariff increment, setting the residents of Thika Town and its environs on the path to paying more for the utility. This is after the water regulator conducted a one-day public consultations forum at the Blue Posts Hotel in Thika.

This increment in tariffs will mean that some consumers will have their water tariffs increased by 100%. Residential customers for instance, will now be expected to pay a minimum KShs.13, Maximum and a Ksh. 30 per cubic metre up from a flat rate of sh. 200 in the new setup that has doubled every component of the consumer’s bill.

The company says that the increased charges will enable it improve on service delivery and reach more residents in the larger Thika Sub-County.

Speaking at the function, Kiambu C.E.C Member for Water, Environment & Natural Resources Esther Wanjiru Njuguna said that THIWASCO has been charging the lowest tariffs in the county a factor that was posing great challenges in its infrastructural development and service delivery.

“THIWASCO was having the lowest tariffs which was hindering its infrastructural development programme. As you all know, there has been an influx in the population growth of Thika Town, especially after the completion of Thika Super Highway. This has in fact overwhelmed the available infrastructure causing water crisis in some areas of the region,” said Njuguna.

This, she said, called for concerted efforts by the water company to increase the water supply to their consumers, thus the reason they applied to increase their tariffs with a projection to expand their coverage to areas with great water challenges.

“As you all are aware, Thika used to enjoy water 24-7 but this hasn’t been the case in the last few years with some areas like Ngoingwa and Mang’u Investments barely getting any water throughout the week. This trends has to be reversed at for every resident of Thika can get water throughout the week. At the same time the coverage area has been increased from a radius of 93 Kilometres squared to 254 Kilometres squared,” she explained.

To conclusively tackle this problem, THIWASCO has prepared a mega masterplan that has been divided into two Phases.

“We have the Thika 3A Dam in the water masterplan that will be constructed about 5km from the current THIWASCO treatment plant near Blue Post. There is also a proposal to do another dam in Kariminu Area of Gatundu North. But the most immediate is to do a sh. 400 million pipeline from Kairi through to Maryhill where we have a tank that currently doesn’t have any water and do some treatment works there,” said the water CEC.

She reckons that this plant will be in a position to supply water in Ngoingwa and its environs.

THIWASCO Managing Director Moses Kinya said that his company has been going out of the way to use the limited available resources to ensure each consumer enjoyed this vital commodity. He contended to the fact that the infrastructure in their Thika plant are old and inadequate to serve the current population of the town.

“We have been using the old pipeline to serve the people of Thika but we have been strategically laying down programmes that will see to it that Thika adequately get enough water for its consumers.

He said that THIWASCO had improved efficiency of water services and expanded their water network to reach more people. He also said that they were working their way out to continue increasing the sewerage coverage to more areas of the sub-county.

Kinya assured the residents of Thika that the company will continue working out ways to improve services even with the old infrastructure.

“Some of these cases of water outages have been caused by our old infrastructure, some of which are more than three decades old. But we have been very active to see to it that we replace these old pipes, at times working as late as 2am in the morning in order to ensure water runs into your taps,” said Kinya.

He informed Thika residents that works for the Ngoingwa trunk sewer under the Nairobi Metropolitan Services Improvement Project (NaMSIP), was currently being undertaken. This major sewerage system will serve the people of Ngoingwa, Witeithie, Kiandutu and Kiganjo. He said that the project was scheduled to take a period of 2 years.

He added that they were sourcing for more funding to see to it that the lower Chania regions also benefitted with such a project, with a treatment plant in Nanga.

On his part, the C.E.O. WASREB Eng. Robert Gakubia said that his board would now evaluate the changes proposed in water tariffs by THIWASCO and come up with the final decision on the way forward.

However he said that the amount proposed seemed viable considering the kind of projects that THIWASCO had scheduled to undertake.

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