Twelve Community Water Projects drawn from seven WRUAs in the Greater Laikipia Landscape went on benchmarking trip to the Mutitu Water and Sanitation Company this August.
Mutitu Water and Sanitation Company is a model rural service water provider that transformed itself from a Community Water Project to a regulated Water Service Provider.
Mutitu was born in 1996 after polluted water sources caused another typhus epidemic. Studies began on the possibility of building an aqueduct to take advantage of the river Makirwaki in the nearby Aberdare National Park.
The Project is a large rural hydro project that originally intended to provide only the local community with water for domestic use, animal husbandry, and the cultivation of a vegetable gardens of 500 square metres.
Today, almost 11 years since the start of work, 25 cisterns and 130 functioning water lines have been laid down, with a total length of over 350 kilometers. About 1,500 distribution points have been installed along these 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.
More than 1,700 families living in the region served by Mutitu are also awaiting connection to the aqueduct. The Mutitu Water Project 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.
Our community water projects learned that their water projects could become financially 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 are key to helping improve compliance and community support for the Project.
Community Water Projects were encouraged to start monitoring water abstraction quarterly as done by Mutitu and comply with the new Laikipia County Water Bill 2021.
It would be great to see all Community Water Projects embrace the Mutito model. We hope to witness more community water projects morph into well-run institutions and regulated water service providers.
This initiative was supported by the Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network (KEWASENT) under the Water Governance Support Program II project.