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MALITI: Account for water firm’s work before increasing costs

You know you are being conned when Nairobi county officials go for a stakeholders’ meeting in Naivasha.

According to a report in last Monday’s Business Daily, this is what the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company did when it wanted to road-test a proposal to increase rates for the water it supplies and the sewerage it claims to take care of.

You and I know that the question of who is a stakeholder can be elastic. But stakeholders of the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company in Naivasha?

Stakeholder questions aside, a bigger issue here is that the company plans to increase its rates. Nairobi Water has not accounted for the money we have already paid it.

In the Business Daily report, the company is said to justify the proposed new rates as a way of raising revenue to invest in new infrastructure. 

The company anticipates that in the next three years, it will have new consumers and there will be a rise in demand.

This presumes the present is well cared for. This is far from the truth.

Our water is rationed. Each time the issue comes up, the company gives a different justification. 

One time it is the wider pipes being fitted into the system to allow more water to flow. 

Another time it is damage to one of the dams that supplies Nairobi with water. Alternatively, the blame is placed on the annual dry season.

Other Nairobi county officials use the novelty of devolution as an excuse for their tribulations. Nairobi Water cannot do so because it has been in business long before our new devolved system of government took effect last year.

The company plans to seek our views on the proposed rate increases. Before it does so, it should give us a jargon-free but detailed accounting of its work to date.

Without that the company cannot justify an increase in rates.