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Water Services Regulator Decries Low Coverage

Kenya’s water coverage currently stands at 55 per cent against a 2015 National Water Services Strategy (NWSS) target of 80 per cent. This indicator has not registered any significant growth in the last three years, according to Impact Report 2018 by Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb).

Wasreb chief executive officer, Mr Robert Gakubia told Conference on Technologies, Solutions and Applications for the Water Sector that partnership is one way to enable water companies reach to Kenyans who still don’t have access to water.

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“The challenge is where they [Kenyans] have access [to water], the water is of differing quality,” he said. “That’s where partnership is needed.”

Mr Gakubia said Kenya faces difficulty on how to deal with wastewater. Kenya’s sewerage coverage currently stands at 16 per cent. This indicator recorded a one percentage point increase in the  immediate past year although it has been showing a declining trend over time, according to Impact Report 2018.

The policy goal under Vision 2030 is to increase sanitation coverage in urban areas to 100 per cent by increasing coverage rate of sewerage system to 80 per cent and installing improved on-site treatment facilities for populations not covered by sewerage systems.

Mr Gakubia said building sewerage system faces resistance from some landowners. “In Kenya I have found once you identify an area to put up a wastewater treatment plant you receive delegations of people saying they don’t want [human waste] in their neighbourhood,” he said.

As a regulator, Mr Gakubia says Wasreb’s work is to create the right environment and ensure those who are investing in the sector are protected.

He said water companies would better serve their customers if they have effective systems and get technical and human resource skills. Mr Gakubia gave an example of Nyeri Water and Sewerage Company, which has benefited from German expertise. Nyeri Water and Sewerage Company has been the overall best performing utility in the country for the eighth year in a row, according to Impact Report 2018.

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About Kaburu Mugambi

Kaburu Mugambi is a veteran of business reporting having worked with two national newspapers in Kenya. He is a graduate of economics from Kenyatta University. He started his journalism career in 2000 with The People Daily as a business reporter before becoming a business sub-editor. He joined Daily Nation in 2004 as a business writer. He holds a post-graduate diploma in mass communication from University of Nairobi's School of Journalism and an MBA in marketing from the same university. In 2016, he founded Water Tower, a media firm focused on water, energy and climate. Its content cuts across water, energy and climate with emphasis on adaptation and sustainability.

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