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Water utilities in Kenya continue to struggle with high Non-Revenue Water (NRW) which results in staggering losses in revenue. Non-Revenue Water is defined as the difference between the amount of water put into the distribution system and the amount that is billed to consumers. In the year 2013/2014 alone approximately, Kenya lost approximately 10.6 billion Shillings due to NRW!

nrw_02Water pipe breakage is one of the reasons for high non revenue water in Kenya

Reducing NRW will help utilities ensure their financial viability and improve levels of service provided to customers. The lack of success of past approaches as well as increasing pressure on utilities to increase operational efficiencies necessitates the uptake of new and innovative methods.

Together with our implementing partner, SNV, we partnered with Water Services Providers Association (WASPA) and Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) to hold a two-day training workshop for water utilities, representatives from the management boards of the utilities, respective county officials, and representatives from Water Services Regulatory Board (WASREB), on Performance Based Contracts (PBCs) for NRW Management in Kenya.

A PBC is a mechanism by which water utilities can contract out works or services to a private sector party that receives remuneration based partly on the achievement of pre-determined outputs or outcomes and partly on a completion of works as defined in the contract. The approach is increasingly being seen internationally as the most reliable means of delivering significant reduction in NRW at Water utilities.

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Pictorial presentation of PBC spectrum in the Water Sector

The workshop was facilitated by Didier Carron, an international PBC expert. Carron has accumulated a vast amount of knowledge in the management of Non-Revenue water using PBC and is the current vice president of the International Water Association (IWA) task group on PBC. He has also co-authored a book titled Performance Based Contracts (PBC) for Improving Utilities Efficiency: Experiences and Perspectives.

Speaking at the workshop, Kenya Markets Trust Chief Operating Officer, Katanu Mwosa stressed the fact that by reducing Non-Revenue Water, Kenya will have an opportunity to increase access to water, improve financial viability of water utilities, and contribute to climate change mitigation. “Kenya requires Kshs 100 billion annually over the next fifteen years to achieve universal access to safe drinking water,” said Ms. Mwosa. “Nevertheless, the exchequer and donors can only provide 60% of this funding and therefore there is need to harness private sector financing and expertise to fill the gap. It is in recognition of this fact, that many players including the government, donors, utilities, financiers, investors and researchers are coming together to define modalities of managing Non-Revenue Water in the sector,” said Katanu, calling upon all sector stakeholders to be open to the new and exciting approaches that are believed to be key in turning around Kenya’s water utilities and making NRW an issue of the past.

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SNV Kenya Country Director, Harm Duiker and KMT COO, Katanu Mwosa at the PBC Training Conference

After this training, KMT and its implementing partners will support trained WSPs to embrace PBCs to help reduce the staggeringly high levels of NRW in the Kenyan water sector.