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Crisis looms as Kisumu water firm closes plant

Tuesday March 17 2020
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A bridge on River Kibos in Kisumu. The closure is due to high turbidity of River Kibos. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By RUSHDIE OUDIA

Kisumu's main water supplier, the Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company (Kiwasco), has temporarily shut down one of its treatment plants due to high turbidity of River Kibos.

This means that thousands of residents will be hit by interrupted water supply, especially at a time when Kenya is on high alert for coronavirus cases.

One of the most important mitigation measures against infection is thorough hand washing and strict hygiene practices.

The closure comes after some residents around Mamboleo estate complained about dirty water coming from their taps over the weekend.

According to Mr Thomas Odongo, Kiwasco Managing Director, areas likely to be affected by closure of the plant include Kajulu, Migosi, Lolwe, Tido, Gudka Mamboleo Kunya and Nyawita estates.

Others are Chiga, Kibos, Ogango, Kanyakwar, Kanyamedha, Bandani, Riat-Airport, parts of Manyatta and adjacent areas.

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“We have experienced ingress in the system causing coloured water and also supply interruption in most areas,” said Mr Odongo.

The temporary closure has not been taken well by Kisumu residents who have termed it ''wrong timing,'' especially when the country is on high sanitation alert.

The water firm has two water treatment plants at Dunga and Kajulu.

Dunga is able to produce 44,000 cubic metres per day while Kajulu produces 36,000 cubic metres per day against the current demand in the lakeside town of 58,000 cubic metres, which is still below the total treatment capacity of 80,000 cubic metres.

Currently, Kiwasco splits water production with Kajulu serving 60 per cent while Dunga serves 40 per cent through pumping and gravity respectively.

Kiwasco’s water supply coverage stands at 70 per cent.

It has 25,600 connections, 86 per cent of which are domestic customers, 13 per cent commercial, while 1 per cent is government.

The MD indicated that his team is working to resume normal operations as soon as possible.

“Meanwhile, a number of water bowsers will bring water to the doorsteps of Kisumu residents,” said Mr Odongo.

He indicated that Kiwasco offices will be open but asked customers to take precautionary measures to avoid contracting Covid-19.

“We want to assure you that our offices will remain open as we continue to refresh lives and ensure that there is enough water to wash your hands at all times as we join the world in fighting Covid-19.''

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