Kisumu was privileged to host the WASPA Bi-monthly meeting which took place between 1st to 3rd September 2021. We had a number of activities lined up which included the Chairman’s dinner, the WASPA Bi-monthly meeting, tree planting at Nyalenda Oxidation Ponds and plant visit at the Dunga treatment plant plus a site visit to Kit Mikayi a local tourist site in Seme for some folklore.
The visit started with Waspa Chairman’s dinner at Acacia hotel with a number of stakeholders, Managing Directors and Representatives from different Water Service Providers in attendance. KIWASCO MD, Mr. Thomas Odongo welcomed the guests to the Lakeside City of Kisumu and invited them to enjoy its beauty. Waspa Chairman CPA. Michael Mang’eli on the other hand was also very excited to be in Kisumu and wished the stakeholders a fun-filled three day.
The following day, the WASPA Association Bi-annual meeting was held at Ciala resort graced by H.E Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, Governor of the County Government of Kisumu. In attendance were Managing Directors or their representatives from over 50 Water Service Providers and other relevant stakeholders from the water sector.
During the meeting, Mr. Ambugo, communicated WASPA’s stand on the proposed fees to Water Resources Authority that will eventually see water companies transfer the cost to consumers. He said, “multiple levies and taxes on water will hurt smooth operations of utilities and efficient water supply to Kenyans.” He was however glad that County Governments have directed water utilities not to implement the directive until the concerns are addressed.
In their speeches, KIWASCO MD and the CECM Water, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources Mr. Orimba emphasized on the need for commercial financing in funding of development projects for water companies. Mr. Odongo, while making his remarks, reminisced that for a long time he had a tough task of convincing commercial banks that KIWASCO cannot provide its assets as security for acquiring loans as the pipes which are the Company’s main assets are buried in the ground. He was however, relieved that banks realized that they were leaving out a huge market in the water companies but since the they have changed their stance. Currently, the banks are assessing revenue collected by WSPs to consider commercial financing among other variables.
Mr. Orimba, on the other hand applauded water companies for ending over-reliance on grants and changing focus to commercial financing. This, he said is the best approach as it’s sustainable and bestows the WSPs responsibilities to ensure they continuously generate revenues that will be used partly for loan re-payment. He reminded the MD’s that access to water is a basic right and urged them to always have that in mind.
The Governor, in his speech, congratulated Mr. Orimba for being voted the super CECM in the 47 Counties. Through his tenure as the CECM in charge of Water, Environment, Climate Change & Natural Resources, Mr. Orimba has seen the County Government of Kisumu attain strategic partnerships with development partners that has eventually resulted to improved water service delivery in Kisumu County. Prof. Nyong’o encouraged water service providers to continue working with development partners in order to achieve even greater accomplishments and attain global standards in terms of service delivery and operations. He reinforced to the attendees the key role they play in the Country’s economy and urged them to strengthen the WASPA association for long-term benefits.
The three days would not end without the team leaving a mark in Kisumu, as such in the afternoon, the CECM, MD KIWASCO and CEO WASPA led other stakeholders, staff and community in planting over 1000 tree seedlings in Nyalenda Oxidation ponds (lagoons).
The entourage drove slowly through Oginga Odinga street in Kisumu to Nyalenda ponds while encouraging people to plant trees. They were later joined by staff and Salvation Army Band which led the procession through Nyalenda for the tree planting.
Speaking during the tree planting drive, KIWASCO MD, reiterated that the company was happy to host the Waspa Bi-monthly meeting. “There is something to learn from one another irrespective of size. To fight the effects of climate change, WASPA association included tree planting in their environmental protection agenda and as such today we have planted 1000 trees. As a company, tree planting is slowly becoming the norm.” He added that, “environmental conservation is crucial to the company because when water abstraction points are polluted, the cost of treating becomes high”.
On the last day of the visit, the team visited Kit-Mikayi where they climbed up to the highest point and listened to the luo folklore associated with the stones, they also had some good time dancing dodo with the local women entertainers. The team ended the visit with a tour of Dunga treatment plant where they got to understand the operations of the plant i.e water production, laboratory operations and electromechanical unit.
The visit was crowned with a sumptuous lunch of fish (Tilapia) by the shores of Lake Victoria. As they left, they sure had a feel of Kisumu’s beauty and appreciated our hospitality throughout their stay.