ROAD WORKS TO BLAME

Water shortage in Mwea raises disease outbreak fears

Residents forced to either buy the commodity from hawkers at a high price or fetch unsafe water from rice paddies

In Summary
  • The shortage has been blamed on the ongoing construction of various roads within the ward which has seen water pipes damaged.
  • As a result, the water company closed the water machines leading to the area.
A resident of Tebere ward transports water home
A resident of Tebere ward transports water home
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU
A part of the water infrastructure that has been disconnected as a result of the ongoing roads construction works across Tebere ward
A part of the water infrastructure that has been disconnected as a result of the ongoing roads construction works across Tebere ward
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU

Residents of Tebere ward, Mwea, in Kirinyaga county have raised fears of water borne diseases outbreak  following water shortage in the area.

They say they have not had clean water supply for over a month from the county supplier KIRIWASCO.

The shortage has been blamed on the ongoing construction of various roads within the ward which has seen water pipes damaged.

As a result, the water company closed the water machines leading to the area forcing residents to either buy the commodity from hawkers at a high price or fetch unsafe water from rice paddies.

Daniel Mbogo, a resident, says they now buy clean water from water hawkers who have since taken advantage of their suffering and charge exorbitantly for it.

He says the hawkers use donkeys to transport water from a small stream within the ward, adding that those without money are forced to use water from the rice farm canals thus compromising their health.

“A drum of water goes for Sh100. Many of us can’t afford that amount on a frequent basis. As a result, we end up drawing water from the rice farm canals for our domestic use. The  water is not safe for drinking as there are dumped carcasses and other garbage, but we have to because we have no option,” Mbogo said.

Daniel Muthii, another resident, says residents are now suffering from  water borne disease as a result of using contaminated water from the canal.

His sentiments were echoed by Stephen Macharia who urged the government to intervene and ensure they have clean water supply.

“While we appreciate the need to have infrastructure, we also want the government to provide us with clean water. We have had enough suffering and our health is at risk. What good will it do to have good roads and have ill health?”

“Many of us struggle to make ends meet and therefore can’t afford to buy clean water hence we have to contend with the canal water,” he added.

Area MCA Gudson Muchina urged the water company to step up it’s effort and reinstate water services in the ward.

Muchina said the water company receives sufficient funding for maintenance of broken water gadgets and facilitation of staff.

“We allocate enough money in our yearly budgets to oversee all water activities. We therefore cannot understand why residents are suffering. We give them funds to buy equipment and to maintain them.We now want the company to fix the situation to lessen the sufferings of the people I represent,” he said.

Contacted by the Star, KIRIWASCO managing director  Engineer Ephantus  Maina said the company is in the process of engaging various road construction agencies undertaking projects inthe county on how they could reinstate the damaged water infrastructure.

“Water infrastructure has adversely been affected across the county by the ongoing road projects. This has caused us a lot of inconveniences because we also have limited budgetary allocation and cannot repair all the destroyed water gadgets.”

He is now calling on the National government to provide funding for the road agencies so that they could be in a position to repair the water gadgets they destroy while undertaking the construction work.

-Edited by SKanyara

Kirinyaga county water supply company 's Sign board
Kirinyaga county water supply company 's Sign board
Image: WANGECHI WANG'ONDU