The Ministry of Water has urged all contractors to fast-track the completion of ongoing water projects.

Speaking while on a tour of projects in Machakos County, Principal Secretary Water and Sanitation Dr. Paul Ronoh said the government was investing lots of money on the projects and lamented that some of those contracted to do them were taking unnecessarily long to finish their job.

“There are water projects that have stalled, some are near completion and some are far from completion. We are issuing a directive to all water contractors to speed up and complete the implementation of those programs,” said Dr. Ronoh

He warned that it will not be business as usual even as he disclosed that some contractors have abandoned their projects after being paid, while others have gone to court to launch various (unjustified) grievances.

“Those contractors should know this is a different administration. We will move across the country inspecting ongoing water projects and if we find a contractor has delayed a project for no reason then he will have to answer,” the PS warned

He further warned contractors against shoddy works. And that’s not all. A tough-talking Dr. Ronoh said government was watching closely to unearth contractors who inflate prices of projects cautioning that that those engaging in such practices will be blacklisted.

The PS was clear that the government was not going to use taxpayer’s money to pay for projects that are never completed. Going forward, he said all projects will be scrutinized to ensure people get value for money.

Kiprono who presented a Memorandum of Understanding between the Counties of Machakos and Kitui indicated that the national government will expand the capacity of Masinga Dam in a bid to address increasing demand for water in the country.

“Masinga dam needs to be upgraded to provide 18000 cubic meters of water from the current 11000 cubic meters in order to boost the water supply in Machakos county,” pointed out the PS.

He said Machakos County will control 40 percent of the water from the dam which will be managed by Yatta Water Company while Kitui will retain 60 percent under the Kitui Water and Sanitation Company.

The PS noted there will be water in schools and that the same resources will serve the communities around as part of the solutions to water challenges.

“For any borehole that is drilled in school, we will make sure it has a meter and serves an estimated number of 200 homes with piped water. The water resources authority will make sure they have proper governance to allow schools to bring water to nearby villages,” said Ronoh.

Governor Wavinya Ndeti urged the national government to fast-track the construction of the Yatta dam, which she said was important for facilitating farming through the Yatta canal.

Wavinya said water shortage in the county continues to affect more than 1.4 million people. She said 90 percent of food production activities in the county are purely dependent on rain-fed agriculture, and that the absence of sufficient rains has dealt a huge blow to the region’s agriculture.

PS Dr Ronoh’s delegation also toured Maruba Dam, Machakos water and sewerage company, Masinga Dam, Yatta Canal, and Ngoliba dam.

By Fred Odanga Azelwa.