On November 12, 2018, Governor Joseph ole Lenku told Kajiado sale of salty water had been declared illegal in the entire region.
Lenku warned water vendors from private boreholes that they would be prosecuted if they defy his directive.
At the time the governor’s directive was seen and viewed as being aimed at protecting consumers against exploitation by water vendors who are selling salty water at lower prices than freshwater.
The governor issued the order in a statement at Galaxy Hotel during a County Maji Awards ceremony claimed to have blown up millions of taxpayers’ money as Kiserian town was choked up with water thirst.
A company charged with the management of water, at the time, in Kiserian could not afford to pay Kenya Power and Lighting a bill of several million of shillings.
More than one year and a half, Kajiado is still reeling under the very same problems, and nobody is talking of the same old promises.
The hype by the county government, at the time, drove the desire of water to another level. The people now feel cheated as nothing happened almost two years after they were promised, Canaan.
The governor promised the multitude of freshwater, and more than one year, urban towns are now served harder and salty water that the previous years.
Private borehole operators and merchants of water at the time were required to purify the salty water they sell through desalination. Nothing happened.
“No licenses should be issued to water vendors before the inspection is done to ascertain that measures have been put in place to ensure the water being sold is clean and fresh,” said Lenku one and a half years ago.
Although he acknowledged there was a shortage of water in several parts of the county, Lenku at the time said that it could not be used as an excuse to sell harmful water to residents. What harmful water?
He said the salty water has been proved to cause health complications if consumed over a long period, but the people are happily taking the same after losing hope.
“I have heard some people say the only salty water is available and it is cheap. I am giving an executive order that anyone who wants to sell water for public consumption must desalinate such water to be clean and fresh,” said the governor.
Residents of Kitengela, Ongata Rongai, and other urban town’s including are still waiting for the said executive order if it will ever work before the next election.
Lenku directed the county water CEC member at the time, Florence Waiganjo, to immediately hold consultations with the relevant stakeholders to ensure prices of freshwater do not shoot due to the purification requirements.
“The adherence to this order will also include a discussion on the capping of prices. We shall not allow the exploitation of consumers by water merchants. The cost of freshwater should remain the same. We cannot trade with the health of our people,” said the governor.
The people lost hope and are now waiting to see if the national government will ever assist them.
He announced that the County Government had already entered negotiations with Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company, through the Ministry of Water to supply Kitengela residents with 5,000 cubic litres of water through a direct pipeline.
One and a half years later, the Export Processing Zone Authority in Athi River has not let go of the water, and the public has been left in the dark all that time without any information from the county government.