Beating all odds to serve water needs
Shortage of staff, poor infrastructure and long periods of dry spells or drought are some of the major challenges facing Mandera Water and Sewerage Company (MANDWASCO).
The Water Service Provider whose board was inaugurated in 2018 only has 41 permanent staff seconded by the Mandera County Government and some casual workers. MANDWASCO’s water production is estimated at 1,534 m3 per day, against an estimated demand of 9,266 m3 per day. The company’s coverage is estimated to be below 16.5 percent. The company’s CEO was appointed in July 2018. The CEO sits on the board of directors and is responsible for the overall business operations and strategic direction of the company. All key senior management positions, with the exception of the Human Resource and Administration Manager, have not been substantively filled, but are supported with deployments from the County Government of Mandera.
The county government has also allocated independent office space to MANDWASCO, and supplied the company with office equipment and furniture. The firm is yet to start metering customers for water consumption making it difficult to determine non-revenue water. MANDWASCO also still grapples with the challenge of insufficient vehicles for senior staff (the company has two vehicles for senior staff with one dedicated to the CEO). The support staff meanwhile have to contend with just two vehicles for operations and maintenance activities. There is currently no sewerage network in Mandera Town and its environs but construction works are ongoing and expected to be completed by 2022 after disruptions based on insecurity by Al Shabaab militants.
MANDWASCO believes it would be deemed to be successful if it mobilizes 100 percent (Kshs 3.09 billion) of its total infrastructure development budget by 2023/2024 financial year. It also hopes to purchase and install customer meters progressively from 960 meters (2019); to 4,200 meters (2020); to 7,200 meters (2021); to 10,700 meters (2022); and finally to 12,300 meters in 2023, with an equivalent number of customers respectively over the period. The company projects purchasing minimum pipe requirements (50 mm and 75 mm diameter, HDPE PN 16 pipes) for water service line extensions to customers to achieve an additional 600km of network extension, beyond the Water Project Lot 1 works by 2023. It further seeks to increase sewer coverage from zero (2019); to 500 connections (2020); to 1,100 connections (2021); to 1,800 connections (2022); and finally to 2,120 connections in 2023. The management is working to increase gross monthly revenues from its business operations from Kshs 370,000 per month in 2019 to Kshs 8.2 million per month in 2023.
Mandera County is affected by drought for about three months in a year.