Biting water shortage hits Mwingi

Engineers from Kiambere-Mwingi Water and Sanitation Company (KIMWASCO) are working on a broken pump at Kiambere Dam to ensure normal water supply resumes in Mwingi.

According to the company’s Managing Director (MD), Paul Kinuba, the raw water pump broke down on Monday, causing an acute water shortage in the town which has now entered its fourth day.

Speaking to KNA on Thursday in Mwingi town, Kinuba decried the surging population in the town that has shot water consumption from 3,000 to 5,000 cubic metres per day.

The MD said water engineers were working round the clock to prepare the damaged water pump so that pumping can start by the weekend to ease water crisis in the town.

The water pipeline was designed to last 15 years before being replaced. So far, this is the 18th year since inception. It in needs an overhaul to increase its capacity to serve our over 60,000 clients within Mwingi and its environs, he said.

We have embarked on zoning of the town so that we are able to distribute the little water available fairly and equitably for maximum optimization of this scarce commodity, said the MD.

However, he was optimistic that a pact reached jointly by Kenya and Italy governments to start phase two of the project would expand its water connectivity network throughout the Sub-County.

Meanwhile, water vendors have taken advantage of the situation and were selling a 20 litre jerrican of water at Sh.40.

The vendors were using donkeys and motorcycles to ferry the precious commodity from water pans and boreholes several kilometres away from Mwingi town.

It has been a brisk business for me during these four days. I made close to eight trips to the water pans. I make between Sh.600-800 per day. I will use the money to buy my children books and pay school fees, said Jacinta Kithuki, a mother of three.

At the seasonal Tia River passing through the town, water vendors, cart pushers and scores of women have dug deep trenches along the dried river bed as they scavenge for the precious commodity continues.

We have no alternative source of water for this town apart from KIMWASCO. Our taps have dried up. I woke up early to dig my trench and wait to see if the ground can yield a few drops for my household, said a teary Esther Mwende.

Mwende, who runs a small eatery joint in the town, used to do brisk business when the supply of water was constant.

I cannot meet the required public safety standards following the water shortage. I cook small potions these days because of lack of water, she said.

Similarly, hoteliers in the town are relying on clean water trucks for the supply of water amid fears of contracting water borne diseases.

Mwingi town is a semi-arid place situated on top of a hill, and pumping of water to the town was strenuous owing to its outdated equipment.

Source: Kenya News Agency