The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company loses over Sh1 billion annually due to water theft, faulty meters, billing errors and illegal connections, a report has revealed.
The report by the Nairobi County Assembly Public Investments Committee revealed that the urban water firm is losing a whopping Sh1 billion in non-revenue water – water which cannot be unaccounted for.
The report also showed that the firm lost over Sh152 million in 2017 as a result of billing errors, underpayments and meter tampering by customers.
According to the report, Nairobi Water billed only 112,787,608 cubic meters of water out of the 181,363,932 cubic metres of water the firm produced in the 2016/17 fiscal year.
Thus, the company only earned Sh5.1 billion from all the water produced with the non-revenue water, which accounted for 38 percent, being over and above the allowable 25 percent in accordance with Water Services Regulatory Board guidelines.
“The excess non-revenue water of 13 percent may have resulted in loss of revenue estimated at Sh1, 044, 873, 270,” read the report which looked into an Auditor-General’s report on the financial statement of the water firm that was tabled before the House in April.
The company’s managing director Nahashon Muguna explained that the unaccounted for water was occasioned by leakages in connection pipes, overflowing of water at storage facilities, metering inaccuracies and an inefficient billing system in the city.
“The company recognises that high levels of unaccounted for water are detrimental to the financial viability of any water utility. The losses reported fluctuated between 38 and 40 percent in the last two years. We are, however, working to put in place measures to reduce unaccounted for water,” said Mr Muguna.
To curb against the losses, the committee, chaired by MCA Stazo Elijah Omung’ala, recommended that the firm procures a software to help it detect overpayments and underpayments in water bills.
The new system will ensure that meter bill readings are posted to the system immediately they are billed to curb against manipulation.
The committee also recommended that the firm audits its billing system to eliminate reoccurrence of errors in billing and also find the cause of the high levels of customers with credit balances and mitigate the same.