The first utility visit was finished yesterday.
Kamwene Water Project is located in Tharaka Nithi county just in the feet of Mt Kenya forest. They have 2500 members of which around 750 have a household connection for water supply. Aim is to expand their services to all members and that’s what we are here for!
During the two days we spent with cheerful Kamwene committee and staff we managed to build a quite comprehensive picture of their current operations, challenges and future plans. By interviewing their customers we also noticed the strong relationship and impact the project has for them. However, they have little connection with other WUA’s of the area, which we recommended that to create good partnership can help each other to report the NRW and reduce it.
As for the technical part, we hiked to see the intake and two water tanks. The water is fed directly in to the network by gravity but the large elevation differences cause quite high water pressure which can lead to pipe bursts and high NRW. Despite this Kamwene has a very good starting point for a successful water business with no need for pumping. This reduces the O&M costs and increases technical reliability.
After the technical tour we decided to call it a day and have the other activities the following day.
Next morning we drove to meet some local water users to learn about their needs and expectations towards Kamwene Water Project. After the interviews we continued straight to interviews with the WUA staff about their manangement, cooperation, financial management and some still remaining technical questions.
After interviews we moved on to our business planning workshop. The idea was to do groupwork with the WUA committee but due to our tight schedule we only compiled our findings about their challenges and ideas about future improvement within our team. We then discussed them together with the staff. One of our key focuses was the issue of non revenue water and how it impacts the sustainability of the business.
Overall experience at Kamwene was a very positive one and already gave us a lot of ideas for upcoming visits and discussions. Next stop: Laikipia!