Water wars to stall key projects, warns CS

George Kebaso and Wangari Njuguna @PeopleDailyKe

The wrangles between the National government and Murang’a County government over the Ndakaini Dam water resource intensified yesterday, threatening ongoing and new water projects valued at Sh45 billion.

 Water and Sanitation Cabinet secretary Simon Chelugui said if the county government continues to interfere with the management and provision of water, it will affect the government’s planned improvement of national water coverage from 60 per cent to 70 per cent.

He said seven contracts have already been finalised in the African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded project, but the wrangles risk halting them.

Speaking at Maji House in Nairobi, he said the World Bank has withdrawn a Sh130 million facility that was meant to support the Murang’a Water and Sanitation Company (Muwasco) to expand water infrastructure to the lower parts of the county. The project was to start in January this year.

 His remarks come just a day after appearing before the Senate Land, Environment and Natural resources Committee and he has warned such squabbles have made some donors shy away from funding water projects.

He said the Ndakaini dam was bought by the Nairobi City County Water and Sewerage Company and compensated land owners therefore making the dam its property. 

“The land owners were compensated,”he said rubbishing claims that Nairobi residents should incur 25 per cent cost to pay for water from the dam.

Chelugui told Murang’a leaders water is a right for all after MCAs, led by the Leader of Majority Eric Kamande  accused him of taking sides in the water battles, which have hit the county for months now. Kamande said the CS  also avoided addressing the 25 percent revenue sharing, “which is a burning issue”.

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