On 24th August 2021, twelve Community Water Projects drawn from seven WRUAs went on benchmarking trip to the Mutitu Water and Sanitation Company.
Mutitu Water and Sanitation Company is a model rural service provider that transformed from a typical Community Water Project to a regulated Water Service Provider.
Mutitu was born in 1996; after polluted water sources caused yet another typhus epidemic, studies began on the possibility of building an aqueduct to take advantage of the river Makirwaki in the nearby Nyandarua National Park.
It is a large rural hydraulic project that was originally intended to provide only the local community with water for domestic use, animal husbandry, and the cultivation of a vegetable garden of 500 square metres.
Today, almost 11 years since the start of work, 25 cisterns and 130 functioning lines have been laid down, with a total length of over 350 kilometers. About 1,500 distribution points have been installed along the lines, including 94 communal water points, 48 connections to public buildings, and over 1,300 connections to private dwellings, all of which ensure a continual water supply to about 14,000 people.
About 1,700 families living in the region served by Mutitu are awaiting connection to the aqueduct. The management committee classifies 500 families as too impoverished to pay the (equivalent) 300 euros connection fee. The committee’s current plan provides for the connection of 250 of these families by covering the connection fee. Once connection work has been carried out, the benefiting families pay the monthly water charge.
Community water projects participating in this benchmarking were able to take with them valuable lessons from this engagement.
They learnt that their community water projects could become sustainable with the adoption of volumetric based water use charges implying the need to install household water meters.
It was also emphasized how good governance and professional services were important to achieve sustainable WASH services- Accountability and transparency would help improve compliance and community support for the project.
Projects require an investment of water storage to mitigate drought impacts and ensure continuous water service provision without rationing- Mutito has installed 55 water tanks, and they are constructing a major water storage dam upstream).
Community Water Projects were encouraged to start monitoring water quarterly as done by Mutitu and comply with the Laikipia County Bill 2021.
as well as adopt volumetric-based water use charges, initiate household water metering to ensure water equality, and finally provide water kiosks to increase water access to community members who cannot pay for the heavy connection fees.
The participant all unanimously agreed that the Mutito working model was simple and affordable.
It would be a great story if we can see all Community Water Projects embrace the Mutito model. We hope to witness these projects morph into well-run institutions or regulated water service providers.
This initiative was supported by the Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network under the Water Governance Support Program II