Kilifi North Member of Parliament Owen Baya has asked Kenya Power to work in harmony with the Coast Water Works Development Agency to provide water in Kilifi and Mombasa counties.
This follows a week-long power disconnection at the Baricho waterworks, which supplies bulky water to Kilifi and Mombasa counties, over Sh187 million power bill.
Baya said KP is not justified to disconnect power at the water pumping station as that is the only source of water for the counties.
“Right now there is a severe drought and pumped water is the only remaining hope. Livestock is dying because there is no water. Some schools are closing due to lack of water and this is because Kenya power has disconnected power at Baricho waterworks,” said Baya.
According to the Coast Water Works Agency, water coverage in the coast region is at 56 per cent.
The region heavily relies on four bulk water schemes: Baricho Water Works, Mzima Pipeline, Tiwi Boreholes and the Marere Pipeline.
The Bulk Water system contributes to 155,000m3 per day.
Except for the Mzima and Marere, the water supply systems rely heavily on pumping due to the Coastal terrain.
The Baricho Water Works, which contributes to half of the daily water production in the region, relies heavily on pumping.
Due to the effects of Covid 19 and the Government’s Directive of “No Disconnection” the Baricho Water Works, accumulated Sh350 million in arrears between March 2020 and March 2021.
Coast Water Works Development Agency entered an arrangement with Kenya Power to pay Sh56 million per month, an arrangement that CWWA claims to have honoured to date.
The arrangement was agreed upon by Kenya Power, CWWDA and the WSPs in the region.
“During the same period, the Water Service Providers (WSPs) received Conditional Liquidity Support Grant 1 (CLSG 1) that helped in cushioning them from the aftereffects of Covid-19 lockdown. The WSPs directly paid Kenya Power Sh80 million from the CLSG 1 towards the same. Today, the arrears plus the current bill stand at Sh187 million,” read a report from CWWDA.
The government is also working towards releasing CLSG 2, which will go towards offsetting the arrears.
CWWDA is optimistic that as the tourism sector is gradually coming back to life, revenue collections from high-end consumers will be enhanced to improve the revenue base for the WSPs.
Baya said he will next week follow up on a recommendation by Parliament on giving Baricho water works a special power tariff to reduce the coast of water production.
“Water is a basic right. You cannot have a lower power tariff for street lights and a higher tariff for water production,” said Baya.