Water shortages in Mombasa could soon be a thing of the past after the government obtained China’s nod to fund the Sh42 billion Mzima Springs II pipeline.
This comes barely weeks after Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho successfully petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to prioritise the project as he sought to alleviate the region’s water woes.
Mombasa requires about 150 million litres of water daily, with the demand expected to increase to 187 million litres next year, explaining the urgency of this project.
Mzima Springs II, once operational, is expected to boost water supply to towns in Mombasa, Taita-Taveta, Kwale and Kilifi counties.
The deal, to be signed in the next few months after China’s Exim Bank board approved the environmental impact assessment, advances the pipeline project that will pump 105,000 cubic metres per day.
“I can confirm the Exim Bank board has approved our proposal and what is remaining is the Attorney-General and Treasury to complete finer details, including the commitment by the government on what percentage they would contribute to the project,” Coast Water Works Development Agency Chief Executive Officer Jacob Kimutai told the Nation.
To end persistent water shortages in the region, especially in Mombasa, Governor Joho had in August urged the President to fast-track the Sh42 billion Mzima Springs II pipeline project and Mwache Dam project.
During the meeting President Kenyatta indicated that he would push for the allocation of funds for the projects as a matter of urgency.
The prospected donors, Mr Kimutai said, were impressed by the 2018 environmental impact assessment and the detailed project proposal that is likely to draw less resistance during implementation, with resettlement and compensation issues expected to be minimal.
He said they are yet to complete the detailed cost of the project that will be submitted to the donor during the final meetings before the signing of the deal. Previous estimates have put the project cost at between Sh36 billion and Sh42 billion.
“The project will run parallel to the existing Mzima Spring 1 pipeline and there is adequate wayleave for the second pipeline, hence making the project attractive to donors considering issues such as compensation and relocation which play a big hurdle to many projects have been taken care of,” Mr Kimutai said.
Mr Kimutai also said the sustainability cost of the project is minimal because the water will flow by gravity to the intended beneficiaries.
“The pipeline will be more efficient than the Mzima Spring 1, which used old pipes compared to the current pipes, which have been manufactured using modern technology and hence increasing efficiency and very low maintenance cost,” he said.
“Ductile iron pipe is selected as the pipe material due to the area conditions and the water pressure.”
The environmental impact assessment report seen by the Nation shows that the Mzima springs II project will comprise the headwork, intake, main water supply pipeline, break pressure tanks, water supply along the pipeline route and water delivery to the terminal tanks in Mazeras.
The report recommended rehabilitation of the service road within the existing 30-metre reserve, which is adequate for building the new pipeline and access road.