Oyugis and Kendu Bay Water Project
Oyugis and Kendu Bay towns are among the list of towns that benefited from the Kenya Towns Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Programme (KTSWSSP) which aims to improve access, quality, availability and sustainability of water supply and wastewater management services in multiple towns in Kenya with a view to catalysing commercial activities, driving economic growth, improving quality of life of people and building resilience against climate variability and change. The projects, once complete, will be owned and operated by Homa Bay Water and Sanitation Services Company Limited (HOMAWASCO) which operates under a license from the Water Sector Regulatory Board (WASREB). The projects, which are substantially complete, aim to increase clean water availability for the residents of Oyugis and Kendu Bay towns. This improved access will go a long away to protect the community from water borne diseases and reduce the time spent by locals in drawing untreated water from wells, rivers, and the lake.
Oyugis and Kendu Bay, similarly to most urban towns in Kenya rely on old infrastructural provisions that are unable to meet the growing demand especially with the increasing urban population. Both towns, have in the past relied on a water supply system constructed in the 1970s with a total design capacity of 3,800m3/day. The water systems are old and are not able to provide regular water supply to consumers due to dilapidated intakes and water treatment plants, faulty valves, leaking pipelines and inefficient electro-mechanical components.
This makes the water supply systems not operational continuously with average supply being less than 40% of the design capacity. The old water supply systems are typical to the water supply schemes under the operation by various Water Service Providers in Kenya which are faced with a myriad of problems including poor reliability, poor/expensive technology choice, manual billing, inadequate capacity, inadequate investment in operation and maintenance, poor water quality and high amounts of unaccounted for water (UfW).
The new Oyugis and Kendu Bay water supply systems aim to increase the water supply in the two towns and surrounding areas by 18,300m3/day to serve about 180,000 residents (approx. 35,000 households) by year 2040. The new water supply systems comprise of; run-of-river intake works, water treatment works of combined capacity 18,300m3/day, 100km length of HDPE water mains and distribution network of sizes varying from OD50mm to OD450mm diameter, 6,500m3 capacity reinforced concrete water storage tanks, water kiosks and ablution blocks.
The projects have been designed and constructed to generate positive environmental and socio-economic impacts that will lead to increased access to water and sanitation services. Unlike the old existing water supply systems, the new water supply schemes involve abstraction and conveyance of water to consumers through gravity which will go a long way in reducing operation and maintenance costs of the schemes and energy requirements for long-term sustainability. Bringing water closer to people reduces time, effort and risk – especially for women and girls – and protecting water as it is conveyed through pipe networks prevents it from being contaminated.
The projects also encompass protection of upstream catchments to ensure sustainability of investments including catchment management, community outreach, water quality and quantity monitoring. This will ensure that future abstractions are guaranteed in terms of water quality and quantities.
Overall, the current and future key benefits of the projects comprise of high quality of life, increased employment opportunities leading socio-economic development of the towns, improved household health status, time savings by the communities to engage in other productive activities especially the women and protection of the environment.