Water and Sanitation Principal secretary Dr. Kiprono Rono has put on notice water cartels in Garissa County who are said to be sabotaging water infrastructure to benefit from selling water through water trucks.
While Garissa town borders River tana which is mainly the source of water for the county, it has been hard for residents to get uninterruptable water supply due to suspected destruction of water pipes and illegal siphoning of water by unscrupulous people.
Speaking at the governor’s office Tuesday, Rono who is in Garissa to launch several water projects in Garissa town, Balambala and Lagdera sub counties said that the government will not lose revenue where it has invested a lot of money to make sure that people get water.
“The demand for water in this county stands at 63,000 cubic meters per day but currently we are only getting 30,000 cubic meters. 45 per cent of this 30,000 cubic meters go to waste due to non-revenue water,” Rono said.
“Today we are launching water police unit in this county to reign on individuals who are sabotaging water infrastructure and disturb the county government when they are collecting water revenue. Anybody who is fond damaging or in away sabotaging our water infrastructures going forward will meet the full force of the law,” he added.
He directed the county commissioner and security officials to arrest and charge anyone who is caught using illegal connections to get water or refusing to pay for the revenue water.
“We are putting on notice all the cartels running water trucks in this county. There are many water buzzers in this town than our matatus. I want to warn all those water buzzers who are illegally getting water to sell that their time is over. We will not strive as national government to provide resources which go to waste,” he warned.
The PS urged those selling water with truck to ensure they get water legally and ensure that it is clean and safe for human consumption and sell at the right prices so that the citizens are not exploited.
He directed the county commissioner and the critical infrastructure protection unit together with all other security officers to reign on all individuals who are not paying for water.
“It is ridiculous that there is not water in Garissa when there is Tana River here and the government has invested heavily to provide water because a few people are destroying the infrastructure while others are refusing to pay for water,” he said.
While encouraging the residents to start harvesting rain water, the PS said that the government has identified tanks to be distributed throughout the county through mama na maji program which will be headed by women representatives.
The government at the same time has donated 50 – 10,000 litres water tanks which will help the residents store water during rain seasons enabling them to reduce water shortage while also reducing flooding which have been happening in the north eastern region.
Governor Nathif Jama on his part expressed gratitude for the support they have received from the national government to reduce water shortage for the citizens of Garissa.
“We have agreed as two levels of government to work together so that we can ease the problems of water for Garissa town residents and all other towns,” Jama said.
Present also during the tour was MPs Mohamed Dekow (Township), Abdikadir Hussein (Lagdera), Abdi Ali Abdi (Ijara), and Women Rep Udgoon Siyad.