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Govt takes over management of water systems from Nairobi Water Company

The national government has taken over management of six bulk water systems and waste water treatment facilities in Nairobi in what could be a blow to Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company.

This comes after the water facilities, which were mostly being managed by the urban utility firm, were designated as national public waterworks meaning their development, maintenance and management will now be by the national government.

GAZETTE NOTICE

Water and Sanitation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki, through a gazette notice, said that the management of the facilities will now be taken over by Athi Water Works Development Agency (AWWDA).

The agency, under the Water Act, 2016, is mandated to undertake the development, maintenance and management of national public waterworks.

It is also tasked with providing reserve capacity for purposes of providing water services where the regulatory board orders for the transfer of water services functions from a defaulting water services provider to another licensee.

Interestingly, Nairobi Water is a water service provider licensed by Athi Water Services Board.

The facilities taken over include Ruiru II Dam and Karimenu II Dam water supply systems, Thika Dam, Mwagu and Kimakia intakes, Ng’ethu Water Treatment Plant, Ruiru Dam and Sasumua Dam, Sasumua Water Treatment Plant, Kabete Water Treatment Plant and Ng’ethu-Gigiri Transmission pipelines.

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

Others are Sasumua-Kabete transmission pipelines, Ruiru Dam-Kabete transmission pipelines, Kabete-Karen-Ongata Rongai pipeline and Gigiri-CBD-Mavoko-Kitengela pipeline, Dandora Estate Sewerage Treatment Plant and Kariobangi Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as the Nairobi Dam.

There is also the Northern Water Collector Tunnel System comprising Northern Collector Tunnel Phase I, Kigoro Water Treatment Plant and water transmission pipelines from Thika Dam to Kigoro Treatment Works at Gigiri reservoirs.

The northern water collector tunnel project has been under construction under the national government for years now and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Once complete, the project is expected to supply approximately 140,000 cubic metres of water to Nairobi every day.

MAINTENANCE

“The designation of the above National Public Water Works takes effect from the date of publication of this Gazette Notice and their maintenance and management shall be vested with Athi Water Works Development Agency,” read in part the July 6, 2020 gazette notice.

The new development comes in the backdrop of an announcement by Nairobi Water that the government had committed to spend Sh18 billion to upgrade water and sewer systems in the capital.

Kawangware, Kangemi, Riruta, Waithaka, Kasarani and Embakasi were some of the areas in Nairobi that were earmarked for the programme.

The project is part of interventions aimed at improving water supply by the utility firm in liaison with the office of the President through the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and the office of the African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development.

Currently, water supply in the capital is 35 per cent less than the overall demand, which has led to water rationing since April, 2017.