Meru Water and Sewerage Services (Mewass) has embarked on a large-scale water rationing programme in Meru town.The water service provider announced that it will start rationing water to residents of Kinoru, Kambakia, Gitoro, Kaaga, Makutano, Milimani and Makutano estates at least twice a week.
Mewass MD Mathew Nteere said this is the first time in three years they have had to resort to water rationing, owing to significant reduction of water levels at Gatubora springs – one of the three water sources for the town.
“The reduction is so acute that we don’t have quantities to pump to all the areas and have, therefore, decided to ration supply so that consumers on higher grounds are not the only ones to bear the brunt,” said Mr Nteere.
Only the Meru town centre and lower-lying areas such as Mwitireria, Mulathankari and Thimangiri have been spared from the rationing programme, which has been communicated to consumers through text messages
“We apologise about the rationing, but commit to coordinate the exercise well so that nobody will be seen carrying water jerricans in this town if they install reasonable storage capacities in their homes,” said the MD. The move has not gone down well with some residents, who questioned the rationale considering the many water bodies surrounding the town.
“If you pass through Kathita, which dissects the town, the water is plentiful and flowing to the Indian Ocean. Somebody must have slept on their job,” said an enraged Josephat Murungi. Imenti North MP Rahim Dawood urged the company to ensure the rationing programme does not cause unduly suffering to residents. He also advised the company to go easy on major expansion and instead concentrate on satisfying current demand.
Mr Nteere also attributed the rationing to the rapid growth of Meru town, saying the company had foreseen the challenge and initiated a Sh100 million expansion of the Kathita Water Works. Once completed, it will increase the daily intake from 6,000 cubic metres to 10,000 cubic metres. He admitted that the project is behind schedule by four months, but assured residents that it will be completed by the end of the year.
“Once that is accomplished, the situation will return to normal in the newly affected areas, leaving only Gitimbine, Nkabune and Gikumene to be sorted out through pipeline expansion. It will also give us an ability to draw 15,000 cubic metres daily,” said Mr Nteere.
Out of 91 water companies, the Water Regulatory Services Board (Wasreb) gave Mewass a score of 138 out of 200 in its recent report. Wasreb said in the 2013-4 report Mewass supplied its 78,643 customers with 20,826 cubic metres of water for 23 hours a day, a score set to significantly reduce with the new development