WATER POLITICS

You can't regulate us, private tankers tell Mombasa water firm

Last week, Mowassco said they were introducing policies to regulate all those that deal with the supply of water services.

In Summary
  • Pwabowa chairman Joseck Njeka said Mowassco is their competitor and, therefore, cannot purport to regulate them.
  • The demand for water in Mombasa is around 220,000 cubic metres per day across the county, but currently, the region receives between 30,000 to 35,000 cubic metres per day.
The Pwani Water Bowsers Welfare Association chairman Joseck Njeka and Changamwe MCA Bernard Ogutu during its launch on Saturday.
The Pwani Water Bowsers Welfare Association chairman Joseck Njeka and Changamwe MCA Bernard Ogutu during its launch on Saturday.
Image: LABAN WALLOGA

Private water tanker owners have opposed an attempt by Mombasa Water Supply and Sanitation Company to regulate them.

Last week, Mowassco said they were introducing policies to regulate private water tankers, borehole operators, exhaust operators, shallow well operators, private water refilling points and all those that deal with the supply of water services.

This is to address illegal water connections and health concerns, managing director Abdirahim Farah said.

“They're all going to be regulated. They have to be licensed and regulated because of concerns about hygiene and illegal water connections. We must know the source of their water, and they must all comply with the standards that are set,” he said.

The illegal connections are costing the county, Farah told the Star.

“We are losing water through illegal connections, which has been there for quite a while. We can also call it water theft.  And of course, there are these massive leakages that we continue to address as they occur because the infrastructure is also quite old,” he said.

However, Pwani Water Bowsers Owners Welfare Association said Mowassco cannot be their regulator.

Speaking on Saturday in Changamwe during the official launch of Pwabowa, chairman Joseck Njeka said Mowassco is their competitor and therefore, cannot purport to regulate them.

“We are already being regulated by the Mombasa county government and the Water Services Regulatory Board (Wasreb),” Njeka said.

“The county government is regulating us, they are giving us a county licence, they are giving us health certificates for our employees and they also recently started implementing a bill that is supposed to charge us Sh3,000 for inspection of the water bowsers.”

Pwabowa was incorporated in March 2024 with the purpose of bringing together business owners of water bowsers in Mombasa.

“The reason why we are coming together is because we want to improve the services in regards to water delivery to the community and to ensure that the regulations are followed according to the requirements of the law,” Njeka said.

He added that they came in to address the challenge of the water problem in the county, which was supposed to be handled by Mowassco.

“We are now being branded water cartels. However, we would wish to clarify that we have our sources of water that have been licensed by the county government and we are supplying purified water. We do not supply water from Mowassco,” he said.

Josphat Sivirike, a member of Pwabowa, said they have been in the water business for 10 years.

“Initially, we used to get water from Mowassco and Kilifi water. However, in recent years, we have been getting water from private water firms. We are bridging the gap of water scarcity in the region and Mowassco should thank us,” he said.

Currently, Pwabowa has about 70 registered companies, but they are looking to increase the number to about 200.

“Mombasa alone has more than 100 water bowser companies,” said Treasurer, Lucy Nyambura.

Changamwe MCA Bernard Ogutu, who attended the launch, said the formation of the association will help private water tanker owners have a voice and stronger bargaining power.

“Water tankers are doing a great job. In my region, it's been six months without tap water from Mowassco. These water bowsers are bridging the gap and should be supported,” he said.

Ogutu said the Assembly has summoned Mowassco managing director Abdirahim Farah to explain the water problems in the county.

The demand for water in Mombasa is around 220,000 cubic metres per day across the county.

Currently, the region receives between 30,000 to 35,000 cubic metres per day.

However, the county still loses about 50 per cent of the 35,000 cubic metres through leakages and illegal water connections.


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