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Nyeri water firm blames old pipes for Sh180m lost revenue

Wednesday August 14 2019

Water flowing from a burst pipe.

Water flowing from a burst pipe. The Othaya-Mukurwe-ini Water and Sanitation Company lost revenue amounting to Sh180 million in the financial year ended June 2017 due to old water pipes. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

GRACE GITAU
By GRACE GITAU
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A water firm in Nyeri has said that old and dilapidated pipe network is blamed for loss in revenue amounting to Sh180 million.

The pipe, it says, has contributed to frequent bursts and leakages.

The Othaya-Mukurwe-ini Water and Sanitation Company lost the highest amount of water compared to the five water companies in Nyeri County in the financial year ended June 2017.

According to a report prepared by the County Assembly Public Investment Committee, the firm produced 6.2 million cubic metres of water but only 2.8 million cubic meters were billed to costumers.

NON-REVENUE WATER

This means the company lost 3.8 million cubic metres of water, representing a loss of 62 percent in non-revenue water (NRW) which is above the 25 percent allowable loss according to the Water Services Regulatory Board guidelines.

“The significant level of NRW may negatively impact on the company’s profitability and its long-term sustainability,” noted the Committee Chairman Erastus Karanja.

Non-revenue water refers to water that has been produced but is not billed and is further considered as “lost” as a results of leaks or illegal connections.

DEBTS

The MCAs also observed that the company had inherited debts amounting to Sh81 million from the national government which were yet to be settled.

Mr Karanja, who is also the Ruguru MCA, directed the company to segment its distribution area into zones and deploy zonal supervisors to help identify areas where water is lost.

“This will assist in formulating intervention strategies in the zones and also improve accountability of the staff as they work towards improving billing volumes in the areas,” he said.

The MCA asked the firm to bench mark with the Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company which has for the last seven years managed to keep its non-revenue water below 20 percent.

OLD PIPES

In its written submissions, the water firm said it was relying on old pipes laid in the 1960s which had worn out following years of use.

The firm officials told the county assembly committee that it would require huge financial investments to repair and replace some of the pipes in a bid to reduce the non-revenue water.

The company has already written proposals for funding to the Tana Water Services Board to facilitate replacement of the pipelines in the two urban centres.

“The pipe networks are aged especially [in] Othaya and Mukurwe-ini towns where they were laid in the 1980s. The requirement to undertake an overhaul of the pipelines is a capital intensive exercise that may need external funding,” indicated the firm in the written submission.

The firm noted that it had established a fully-fledged NRW team which repairs burst pipes within 24 hours.