Water service board blames debts for frequent shortages

Coast Water Board CEO James Thubu addressing Journalists at Coast water board offices, Thubu has assured Coast residents water supply after major towns like Mombasa, Kilifi and Malindi were hit by water shortage. Photo Norbert Allan
Coast Water Board CEO James Thubu addressing Journalists at Coast water board offices, Thubu has assured Coast residents water supply after major towns like Mombasa, Kilifi and Malindi were hit by water shortage. Photo Norbert Allan

The Coast Water Service Board and seven water and sewerage companies are engaged in a row over alleged debts in form of levy charged for water supply. The board says it cannot meet operational costs because the companies do not pay for the services promptly, which results to water shortages in the region.

The board further accuses the companies of having many employees who are awarded huge salaries, a move that frustrates payments to the board. The companies are Malindi Water and Sewerage Company, Kilifi Mariakani Water and Sewerage Company, Mombasa Water and Sewerage Company, Kwale Water and Sewerage Company, Lamu Water and Sewerage, Taita Taveta Water and Sewerage Company and Tanariver Water and Sewerage Company.

The companies are the principal agents of the board. They buy water to sell through metering to the final consumer. Each company pays for electricity, operation and maintenance costs. A source from the board said the companies only pay a fraction of the electricity bills, thus accumulating debts each month.

Speaking during a telephone interview, the board CEO James Thubu termed the delays in debt payment "manageable". “It is true there are those changes but they are manageable, the companies usually pay when we push them,’’ he said. Thubu did not disclose the exact amount the companies owe the board.

He said they are able to operate despite the challenges. The companies are expected to set up metering systems to consumers and use the money generated for payment of staff, operation costs and payment to the board. The source said it has been difficult to meet full operation costs as because of the delays.

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