A new water war is in the offing in Kajiado after Governor Joseph Ole Lenku declared the sale of salty water illegal and must be desalinated before sale.
Governor Joseph Lenku during the County Maji Awards at Galaxy Resort on November 9.
The ban, the governor said, aims at protecting consumers who have been forced to take salty water following acute shortage of fresh water.
Private borehole operators and merchants of water are now required to purify the salty water they sell through desalination.
Said Lenku; “No licenses should be issued to water vendors before an inspection is done to ascertain that measures have been put in place to ensure the water being sold is clean and fresh.”
The Governor issued the order in a statement on Monday – three days after the county’s Maji Awards that targeted community water projects that were deemed to be most reliable in supplying water to their members.
The new order could push the prices of water in Kitengela and Kajiado towns even higher considering that the salty water which is cheaper than fresh water is only option for thirsty residents.
It could also put the county water department on the spot because vendors could cut off supply citing inability to buy the purification equipment, further pushing the residents into more agony.
Lenku, in the statement, directed the county water CEC Florence Waiganjo to immediately hold consultations with the relevant stakeholders to ensure prices of fresh water do not shoot due to the purification requirements.
“The adherence to this order will also include a discussion on capping of prices. We shall not allow exploitation of consumers by water merchants. The cost of fresh water should remain the same. We cannot trade with the health of our people,” said the governor.
During the awards ceremony, Entalala water project from Rombo and Ole Polos water project from Kajiado West Sub County were declared the best managed projects in the rural and urban areas respectively.