Project brings clean water to shortage-hit Kambiti town

Kang’ata said the residents have suffered for too long

In Summary

• The Muwasco-county joint project will see more than 20,000 residents connected

• Beneficiaries so far include schools, a prison and mango-processing factories

Governor Irungu Kang'ata and Muwasco officials launching Kambiti water project on December 11, 2023.
Governor Irungu Kang'ata and Muwasco officials launching Kambiti water project on December 11, 2023.
Image: Alice Waithera

Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco) has commissioned a Sh35 million project in the dry Kambiti area in Maragua constituency that is set to benefit more than 20,000 residents.

Launching the project on Monday, Governor Irungu Kang’ata said the residents have suffered for too long as they search for clean water.

“Kambiti is supposed to be served by Muswasco but the company's services have been unable to reach the ward," he said.

Kambiti depends on mango farming for its survival.

It is along the busy Kenol-Sagana dual carriageway and is 22km away from Kenol town, and has been facing acute water shortages for decades, subjecting residents to hunger during droughts.

Residents were being forced to fetch water from springs that would dry up in the course of the day, forcing them to spend nights queuing to fill their jerricans.

The only two rivers, Kambiti and Thaara, pass on the sidelines of the area and are too far away for many of the residents.

Lack of water has slowed development and traders still use mud-walled shops as major investors keep off Kambiti town.

But the water project, which draws its water from Kayahwe river in Kiharu constituency, is currently channelling 1,000 cubic metres of water every day to the area for domestic use.

The project is being implemented with the support of the county government and has already connected more than 1,000 residents to the commodity.

Kang’ata said his administration will work with water firms that surrendered their ownership to the county government earlier this year to enhance water coverage.

The county’s current water coverage stands at 67 per cent, with Kambiti ward recording the least water connections.

Only Murang’a South Water and Sanitation Company (Muswasco) failed to join the county government out of the five water firms operating in the county.

Muswasco, Kang’ata clarified, is still under the national government and is regulated by the Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb).

The governor urged Wasreb not to interfere with plans by his administration to ensure all parts of the county have water coverage.

“We will work with Muwasco and four other water firms that have transferred their services to the county government to supply water to areas that are yet to be covered,” he said.

Kang’ata expressed confidence that the project will boost the local economy and uplift locals’ living standards.

Muwasco managing director Eng Daniel Ng’ang’a said the water project is already benefiting 15 institutions, including schools, a government prison and mango-processing factories.

Ng’ang’a said the company will use about Sh200 million to connect all households in the area with water and that the project will be implemented in phases.

He said the company is expanding its water treatment plant and establishing more water sources to cater to the increasing population.

Maranjau Primary School head teacher Robert Gakinya hailed the project, saying it will save his pupils precious time lost as they walk to a river to fetch water.

He said pupils were being sent to a stream that is a kilometre away from the school, an activity that reduced their learning hours.

Further, the head teacher said many of his pupils suffered from waterborne diseases after drinking contaminated water from the stream.

Resident Mary Wambui said the availability of water in their homes will boost hygiene and ease their lives.

“I appeal to the company to ensure it connects all villages in Kambiti with water. I am sure it will spur business activities soon,” she said.

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