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Ease water firms’ burden

Wednesday July 15 2020
By EDITORIAL

The establishment of a number of water companies across the country has contributed immensely to easing the provision of water to the people.

Almost every county has its own company, and its operation as a separate entity enables the resources meant for and generated from water services to be used solely to expand and improve this.

In the past, under the county councils, revenue from water ended up being used to even pay salaries, at the expense of the vital duty of the then water departments.

The arrival of these companies is a model that has shown great potential. However, not all the water firms that dot the country today have performed to expectations. This is what has led to the increasing clamour for the government to take back water services.

It’s not entirely necessary as the water firms that have been efficiently managed have improved services to customers and can only get better if any shortcomings are fixed.

But as has become evident even in the health sector, perhaps the devolution of these vital services should not have been rushed before the counties built adequate capacity.

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It is also crucial for the national government, which has much more resources at its disposal, to take charge of the huge projects in the water sector.

The national government has just taken over the management of bulk water systems and wastewater treatment plants in Nairobi.

This, of course, is a setback to Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company — the biggest of the water firms — but the decision was not meant to spite it.

The national government is convinced that these facilities will be better managed by the Athi Water Works Development Agency.

If the aim is to have the government develop and maintain the bulky infrastructure to ease the operations of the various firms, then it makes sense.

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