Water Bills to Go Up in New Govt, World Bank Deal

  • File image of Water CS Sicily Kariuki
    File image of Water CS Sicily Kariuki
  • Kenyans are set to pay higher water bills after the government raised regulatory charges on water companies.

    The government, through the Ministry of Water, raised the charges tenfold in what it terms as a move to cover increasing costs of operation and maintenance.

    The new regulations were a recommendation by the World Bank after it approved a Ksh80 billion loan to help the country address the Covid-19 pandemic challenges.

    The new regulations were published by Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary, Sicily Kariuki, on Friday, August 20.

    In the new reforms, the Cabinet Secretary announced that there will be a raise in water user charges from Ksh50 cents per cubic metre to Ksh5 for domestic use and livestock farming.

    Logo at the entrance of World Bank Building in Washington DC, USA.
    World Bank offices in Washington DC, USA.

    The Water Resource Authority (WRA) previously charged Ksh50 cents per cubic metre for water used in homes, and other farming purposes such as irrigation and livestock, and Ksh75 cents for commercial water use of over 300 cubic metres.

    WRA will now charge Ksh2 per cubic metre for water used for irrigation.

    Commercial use in the new regulations will attract a charge of Ksh6 for water use of over 300 cubic metres a day.

    Service providers will inevitably put on additional costs to homes and businesses after the introduction of freshwater conservation levies by the government.

    “A person in possession of a valid water use permit or who is required to have a valid permit for water use shall pay in addition to the water use charge, a levy amounting to 5 percent of the monthly water use charge as a water conservation levy,” reads the new regulation.

    In the agreed loan deal between the World Bank and the government, the international lender proposed that water service providers should contribute 70 percent of the Water Resource Authority’s budget, up from the current 30 percent.

    Any water payments that are paid late will consequently attract an interest charge of 2 percent per month, with water providers required to install automated meters or risk facing a 10 percent penalty of water used.

    Undated file image of woman washing hands from a water tap.
    Undated file image of woman washing hands from a water tap.