The Eldoret Water and Sanitation Company loses more than Sh500 million annually through vandalism of water pipes and illegal connections.

CEO Peter Biwott said on Saturday they have launched an initiative to reward residents who report illegal activities that interfere with the water supply system in the town.

Biwott says the town is growing rapidly with a population of more than 500,000 and requires more water, hence, the need for residents to be more responsible in the use of the available water.

The initiative is known as Linda Maji Mtaani to sensitise residents on the need to take care of  water resource. Under the initiative, residents who report cases of tampering with water systems are rewarded with cash tokens.

Eldowas is also sponsoring sports activities for youth in residential areas as part of the sensitisation activities.

“We have stepped up our public relations activities and aggressively sensitised our people on how best to take care of the water we have. It’s  not enough and the population is still on the increase,” Biwott said.

He said measures put in place by his team are paying off with better collection of revenues and reduced wastage of water.

Biwott said the company has improved its performance and now collects more than Sh80 million monthly as consumption charges.

He when he took over management of the firm late last year, the company’s collections stood at about Sh60 million monthly  but the amount had now gone up by about Sh20 million.

He says the firm is carrying out aggressive consumer sensitisation to ensure there is no wastage or theft of water through illegal piping.

“When I took over last October, the non-revenue water was more than 46 per cent but now we are in February and it has come down to less than 36 per cent. That means we are doing the right things,” Biwott said.

He said the firm has also tried to eliminate corruption in its operations. “There have been cases of corruption where you find well-off people corruptly accessing water ,” the CEO said.

He said the company will fully apply the Water Act in dealing with those who tamper with supply systems to access free water. He said they were working with the police to ensure those found tampering with the water systems are charged.

“We now have very punitive penalties and fines in place and those found tampering will face the full force of the law,” he said.