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Nyeri Water: “We read meters every month”

Mr Peter Gichaaga, managing director, Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company. Mr Gichaaga is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Public Secretary. He holds Master of Science (Finance), Master of Business Administration (Strategic Management) and Bachelor of Business Administration (Accounting and Finance).
Mr Gichaaga has over 15 years’ experience in private and public firms. He joined Nyeri Water in 2015 after working at Tana Water Works Development Agency for 10 years.  He represents Tana Water Region in Water Services Providers Association, an advocacy and networking platform for water services firms.

Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company has been the overall best performing water company for eight years in a row. This was until 2017/2018 when the company tied in top position with Ruiru-Juja Water and Sewerage Company. Mr Peter Gichaaga, managing director, Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company, tells us about the company’s performance and Covid-19.  

Water Tower: According Water Services Regulatory Board’s performance assessment, Impact Report 2018, Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company tied with Ruiru-Juja Water and Sewerage Company at first position with 163 points out of 200. What’s your view?

Mr Peter Gichaaga: We appreciate the effort other WSPs [water service providers] are putting towards providing excellent services to their customers. We share our knowledge with them through benchmarking exercises free of charge.

READ – Water companies: Government report finds most firms unprofitable

How to reduce water losses

 

Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb) assessed 88 water companies in 2018. In the evaluation, only Nyeri Water and Meru Water and Sewerage Company had a score of “good” on water loss. How were you able to only lose 14% of your water? [Industry average was 41%].

Beside the NRW [non-revenue water] team having complete support from the top management, all units in Nyewasco are also dedicated in NRW reduction.

Nyewasco has a dedicated NRW team that continuously works on set strategies. Customers are all metered and the meters are read every month. Distribution system is also separated into well identified areas making it easier to manage. There is zonal meter reading and consumption monitoring, burst and leak repairs, pressure management and infrastructure management.

These areas are also well metered with accurate meters, which are calibrated annually. This enables the team to know non-revenue water in each area and also the whole area covered by the company. The company supports NRW team with transport, mobile airtime, protective equipment and working tools. The team also has a well-stocked store with quality materials for service and repairs. The team comprises qualified technicians and graded artisans.

READ – Water companies lose Sh7 billion annually to water leakages

How is the firm directed and controlled?

 

Mr Robert Gakubia, chief executive officer, Wasreb, once said Nyeri Water has a very good corporate governance. How does the way your management and board work make you excel?

The management and the board work very closely with no squabbles. Their main objective is to deliver on the main mandate of the company. To carry on the business of water and sanitation within Nyeri town sub-county. The board offers support to the management and strictly adheres to the company’s strategic plan. This has resulted to a strong work culture across the organisation. All employees strive for continual improvement of the services offered by the company.

 

What is your water customer base?

Approximately 30,000 connections.

 

What is your sewerage coverage?

30%.

 

What work did you complete in 2019?

Sewer extension to customer households under Urban Water and Sanitation Output Based Aid (OBA) project.

[The World Bank financed the project. The bank’s OBA project aims to increase the number of people in low income areas with access to improved water supply and sanitation services in Kenyan towns and cities.]

 

What work do you intend to start or finish in 2020?

Toilet upgrade under SafiSan programme by Water Sector Trust Fund.

[SafiSan is derived from two words: Safi (a Kiswahili word meaning clean) and Sanitation (an English word meaning hygienic management of human excreta from human contact). Water Sector Trust Fund is a government firm established to finance water and sanitation services in poor and underserved communities.]

 

You replaced the word “Sewerage” in your name with the word “Sanitation.” Why?

This was necessitated by the need to offer a wider range of services as far as sanitation was concerned.

 

The Government is urging water firms to spread their services to rural areas. What are you doing to meet this requirement?

Most of our service area has been classified as rural by Wasreb.

 

Preparing for Covid-19

 

What problem does Covid-19 have on your business?

Reduced revenue due to the Government’s directive to water service providers not to disconnect customers with unpaid bills.

 

What are you doing to stop Covid-19?

  1. We closed our Customer Care Centre. We restricted or limited access to the company offices and other work stations. also, most customer care services are now offered online.
  2. We provide hand sanitiser’s and hand wash soap at the head office and in all the works stations.

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Kaburu Mugambi
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