Residents of Machakos County have all reasons to smile after their Governor Wavinya Ndeti managed to end the decades old tussle over the management of Masinga Dam. Despite the dam being in Machakos County, it has been managed by Kitui Water and Sanitation Company (KITWASCO) with KITWASCO in-charge of the supply and revenue collection both for Machakos and Kitui County residents using piped Water from the dam.
Governor Wavinya Ndeti initiated talks with her counterpart Kitui Governor, Dr. Julius Malombe immediately she was sworn in after the 2022 general elections with the climax of the talks being an MoU signed by each of the Governors with the National Government on their mandate when it comes to sharing the resource.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Dr. Kiprono Ronoh who signed the MoU with each of the Governors on behalf of the National Government commented the efforts by the two Governors saying that now Machakos County will have a direct line from the dam that they can use to supply water and collect revenue from its residents through Yatta Water Company and not KITWASCO as it has been.
“We will split the water to have a pipe coming to Machakos. It will be managed by Yatta Water Company who will also collect revenue from residents in Machakos County,” Water and Sanitation PS, DR. Kiprono Ronoh.
The government has also promised to increase the intake of Masinga Dam to benefit residents from the two counties as well us construction of a Kshs. 15 Billion shillings Dam in Yatta, Machakos County. “If water shortage issues in Machakos are taken care, the can be a great contributor to the food basket.” Water and Sanitation PS, DR. Kiprono Ronoh.
“I thank His Excellency President William Ruto for his commitment to upgrade Masinga Dam intake at a cost of sh 300 million. The project serves Masinga sub-county in Machakos county and Kitui County.” Hon. Wavinya Ndeti, Governor – Machakos County.
Governor Ndeti also reiterated her commitment in ensuring Machakos County reduces its overreliance on rain-fed agriculture especially with the fact that Machakos is among the ASAL counties where rain is unrealiable. “My government is keen on investing more on exploitation of surface water as opposed to ground water whish is not only expensive but also unsustainable.” Hon. Wavinya Ndeti, Governor – Machakos County.
The governor has also issued a stern warning to those involved in polluting water in Athi River the biggest river in the region and asked the National Government to intervene and help in the efforts to clean the river. “This must stop. We have put on notice all those companies and institutions involved in the deliberate pollution of River Athi. They either stop or face closure because we cannot afford to gamble with the lives of our people.” Hon. Wavinya Ndeti, Governor – Machakos County.
The MoU between Machakos County and the National Government will see the National Government collaborate with Machakos County Government in identifying suitable regions to launch Agricultural projects in Machakos County targeting local & National consumption as well as for export. The National Government will also support Machakos County in drilling boreholes in schools. The schools to share and sell affordably the water with immediate communities around them.
County Governments have also been encouraged to initiate Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in the Water sector and utilize automation for tracking water distribution from the source as well as in revenue collection.
The leaders were speaking during a tour by the water PS Dr. Kiprono Ronoh to Machakos County for inspection of water project and signing of an MoU where the National Government agreed to collaborate with the National Government in operationalizing the Water Master Plan for Machakos County. This is expected to help the County achieve an effective, equitable and efficient use of water and build resilience of the residents against droughts and water related shocks. The two leaders also met with Kitui Governor Julius Malombe at Masinga Dam where they agreed to ensure the agreement in the supply and revenue collection for Water from Masinga Dam is observed for the benefit of residents from both counties.