County Waives Water Bills for Slum Residents in Fight Against Coronavirus

  • A boy washes his hands at the Kotela Primary School in Kotela in Turkana County on 30 September 2014.
    A boy washes his hands at the Kotela Primary School in Kotela in Turkana County on 30 September 2014.
  • Over 3,000 residents had cause to rejoice following a county directive that suspended payment of water bills for the next 30 days.

    The waiver was announced by David Ndumo, the head of corporate services at Nyeri Water and Sanitation Company (NYEWASCO) and would be effected on 350 households living in Witemere Slums.

    "Nyeri water has recently waived the water bills for Witemere which is a poor area in an effort to fight the spread of the Covid-19 virus," stated Ndumo.

    He stated that the decision had been informed by the proliferation of handwashing campaigns across the country.

    This propelled the organization to question and seek out a role it could play in advancing the sanitary vigilance demanded by the pandemic.

    "We noted that while handwashing campaigns are ongoing in many areas, we needed to participate and provide a way for the people of Witemere to practice constant hand washing," Ndumo explained.

    "One of the things we did was waive all their bills for the next thirty days. This way they would be consuming water that will be fully paid for by Nyeri Water through our CSR budget," he added.

    The project has been launched in conjunction with Nyeri County Commissioner Lyford Kibaara, who purchased a token to enable residents to access water from an installed water ATM at no cost.

    "In conjunction with the county commissioner, Lyford Kibaara, we have provided a free token to our water ATM. He has paid for a token that is available 24/7 with no limitations so users without a water connection can get water from the ATM," Ndumo provided.

    Before the waiver came into force, Witemere had an average of 170 households disconnected from the water supply over unpaid bills. 

    However, through the initiative, all the connections have been restored and Ndumo asserts that households would not be disconnected.

    NYEWASCO Water Treatment Plant in Kamakwa, Nyeri County on September 22, 2017.
    NYEWASCO Water Treatment Plant in Kamakwa, Nyeri County on September 22, 2017.
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    "Previously we had an average of 170 households disconnected owing to unpaid bills. These customers were drawing water from our ATM," provided Ngumo, adding, "But following our initiative in Witemere we have been able to reconnect all of them and as per the government's directive, we are not planning to disconnect any water connection within that area."

    The World Health Organisation recommends handwashing as one of the cheapest, easiest and most important ways to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

    It is recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20-30 seconds using soap and water. 

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