New water user fees have been gazetted to rise 50 cents to 5 shillings per cubic meter 1000 liters.
The Government’s move to reevaluate water fees with the World Bank’s encouragement has not gone down well with stakeholders within the water sector and the general public at large. While there is a real value to water, without the infrastructure and equity in access, use and distribution, it’s hard to swallow this sudden rate increase!
The move disregards our MDG goals for water, and our quest for the human right to water. This increase in water fees essentially means that all the extra charges will be transferred to the consumer, clearly depicting that water is no longer a human right. Those without the means will continue to remain without water, and they will be left out of the development goals.
After wide consultations with its membership and partners, the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership concludes:
- With the 50 cents currently being paid, there has never been transparency and accountability by Government to show the percentage of those paying and those with illegal/unpaid water access.
- The sharp increase (100x fold increase). This translates to this: if you are currently paying 70k shillings per 3 months you will now pay 700k plus a 5% water conservation levy. How many of us can afford this increase?
MKEWP has teamed up with KEWASNET (Kenya Water and Sanitation Civil Society Network), a national umbrella body organization, of which MKEWP is a member. Together we are petitioning the GOK for a dialog on water costs and water rates, and we are seeking an audience with both Houses of Parliament to understand the rationale for these oppressive water rates in the middle of a Pandemic! The Senate has already forwarded our petition to its Water Committee.
Also, to be noted in the water use changes are:
- All abstractors must have automated measuring device (master meters). Without a meter, there can be no easy rationale for water fees based on use.
- There will be an additional 5% for a Water Conservation levy to be shared between WRUAs and County governments. It’s unclear how this 5% will be calculated, distributed and what conditions govern its use.
- Any abstraction exceeding 5% of the permitted will incur a penalty of 10/= shillings per cubic meter.
More information on the rise in water use charges is in this article