KPC fails to provide alternative water source

Officials say they have to consult with stakeholders before supplying water

In Summary

• Governor Kibwana says prolonged lack of water will jeopardize fishing and horticulture. 

• He says it is KPC's responsibility to supply water after the oil spill. 

A trench dug by KPC at Kiboko showing traces of oil in Water
CONTAMINATION: A trench dug by KPC at Kiboko showing traces of oil in Water

Days after the Water Resources Authority issued a precautionary notice on the use of Kiboko River water, a solution on where Makueni locals will get water for their domestic use is yet to be found.

In a public meeting held on Tuesday at Kiboko police station grounds, Kenya Pipeline Company failed to commit itself to supplying residents with alternative water.

Governor Kivutha Kibwana who convened the meeting insisted that it was the responsibility of KPC to get the locals an alternative source of water following an oil spillage that hit Kiboko natural springs along the newly constructed Sh48 billion Mombasa-Nairobi oil pipeline on March 30.


"KPC must tell us how it's going to deal with the daily demand for water supply here because you cannot cause a problem and expect the county government to bear the responsibility," Kibwana said.

On Friday last week, WRA issued a precautionary notice on the use of the Kiboko River water saying it was unfit for human and livestock consumption.

A study carried out by the authority at Central Water Testing Laboratory in Industrial Area, Nairobi, showed that the water has high levels of grease and oil.

KPC, however, disputed the results arguing that it had conducted an independent chemical and toxicological analysis of the water quality which showed no contamination. 

Acting managing director Hudson Andambi said out of the 42 shallow trenches done by KPC, three were found with high volumes of oil, 32 wells with small traces of oil while the other six had no traces of oil.

He declined to commit the company to supply water but assured residents that KPC will involve all the stakeholders in their findings to win the residents' trust.

"I can't say here that I will bring you water tomorrow because I will be lying to you. There are certain procedures that have to be followed and we will first consult with your leaders to find a solution," Andambi said.


He said KPC was unable to give any timelines as to when it will start supplying water because they were yet to establish the extent of the oil spill.

The company’s Safety, Environment and Quality Assurance manager Beatrice Oguti argued that the purported contamination was not out of the oil leak but excretions from animals and plants which also have components of hydrocarbons.

On Tuesday, Kibwana called on KPC to have the locals get medical tests and the health facilities to give their medical history.

The governor said issues of rivers Thange and Kiboko squarely lie with national government under the Energy sector which is not a devolved function.

He said prolonged lack of water will jeopardize agricultural activities like fishing and horticulture that has been going on for years. 

The meeting brought together officials from KPC, the National Environment Management Authority, WRA, the county government and residents. ​

(Edited by R.Wamochie)