The wars between the Kakamega County Water and Sanitation Company (KACWASCO) and its clients from both Nandi and Kakamega Counties are far from over.
This was revealed on Thursday during a sitting by the committee on Environment, Water, Natural Resources and Climate Change that was meant to deliberate on issues raised by residents from the two counties concerning water services provided by KACWASCO at Tindinyo water plant in Nandi.
According to the committee chairperson, Hon. Sakwa Limera, the committee had initially received residents’ concerns on services offered by the company and had requested the latter to avail correspondences between the company and its customers.
The Tindinyo water supply treatment plant is owned by KACWASCO and it supplies water in both Nandi and Kakamega Counties.
With regards to the minutes dated 13th January, 2021, a number of issues had been raised by consumers among them; unprocedural surcharges of Kshs. 500 without any public participation, consumers from Nandi County not being given preferential treatment yet the water source was based in their county, some clients were not receiving water due to low pressure yet they were being billed and surcharged especially in December, 2020, unfulfilled promises like tariff waiver and free water supply especially to those who donated land for the water plant construction, the minimum fee of Kshs. 320 for the first 6 units being on the higher side among other grievances.
In response, KACWASCO defended the Kshs. 500 surcharges saying that they were procedural and had been gazetted.
The company further reaffirmed that public participation did take place prompting Hon. Bernard Omboko, a member to the committee to question when and where it was held as well who were the participants.
It, however, promised that both the Board of Directors and the management were to work on modalities of exempting government institutions from the Kshs. 500 surcharge.
On whether the residents around the water plant could get preferential treatment, the company reaffirmed that water is a national resource and a basic right, thus all citizens have got a right to access clean and affordable water irrespective of their county of origin or residence with no preferential treatment being given to any consumer.
In addition, it was clarified to the committee that the billing system was down towards the end of December 2020, consequently clients who made payments during that time their accounts had not been updated.
The company had promised to waive the surcharges immediately the official complaint was made.
The minutes further stated that the Tindinyo water supply treatment plant land was bought and dully paid for by the then Lake Victoria North Water Services Board.
Additionally, all consumers that the water pipeline passed in their land were fully compensated and that those who had been promised waiving off their tariffs and free water supply were asked to launch official complaints to the current Lake Victoria North Water Works Development Agency.
The committee resolved to visit the water plant within two weeks and get the views of the clients and residents around as a way of arbitrating between the company and its clients.
“We need to make an impromptu visit to Nandi County as a committee in liaison with the scheme Manager so as to get consumers’ views on whether the issues agreed upon with the company are being implemented and get more grievances if any,” remarked the committee chairperson, Hon. Sakwa Limera.