Establishing sustainable water businesses, one at a time

Photograph of a woman at a water pipe junctionFrida Musyoka, the revenue clerk and project manager at the Kithambangii Water Project (KWP) in Kitui County, is passionate about her job. She describes it as “tough but manageable.” On her daily trips to the KWP borehole, chlorine dosing station and solar pump house, she inspects that the amount of chlorine in the water is just right, empties the chlorine residue and balances the piping system to ensure that there is efficient water flow to the distribution pipes.

Frida was trained in water resource management and technology at the Kenya Institute of Water. To strengthen her skills, she and her colleagues at KWP have been receiving regular training and mentoring support from USAID’s Kenya Integrated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (KIWASH) Project for the past two years. “KIWASH has improved our skills. We have learned effective ways of revenue management, customer billing, record keeping, pipe management and how to run a chlorine doser to ensure the water going to customers is clean.”

In addition to continuous skills training, KIWASH has focused on improving KWP’s infrastructure to improve water service and quality for Kitui County residents. This includes adding 72 new household connections, rehabilitating two existing water kiosks and building two more at the entrance points to the pipelines. KIWASH also installed a 4.7 km pipeline extension with a three-inch pipe buried deep to deter damage and water theft. Finally, KIWASH constructed a elevated water tank to store and distribute water more efficiently.

Just two years ago, things were very different at KWP. Recalling where they started, Frida states, “Initially, we had 69 household connections and eight water kiosks, of which only three were operational. We would also release untreated water to our clients and most of our revenue went to pay for high electricity costs.”

Thanks to technical and financial support from USAID, the Kithambangii Water Project is now fully operational. The water project now provides access to sustainable services and clean drinking water for at least 5,000 people in Kitui County.

 

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