Six Water service providers (WSPs) have been selected to pilot public private partnerships (PPP) models that will increase County level water supply. This is an attempt by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (MEWNR) to build the capacity of the counties so that they can ensure that residents have reliable access to quality water.
The six were selected following a call for PPP project proposals by MENWR in May 2013 sent to all WSPs in the country. The six WSPs fulfilled eligibility criteria and have been targeted with specific PPP initiatives including reducing non revenue water, upgrading water services network, sewerage services network upgrading, renewals & extensions as well as enhancing operational and management efficiencies. The selected WSPs are situated in six areas; Garissa, Thika, Nzoia, Murang’a, Kakamega, Busia and Meru.
This initiative comes in the wake of increasing interest from various counties to fulfill their role of giving every citizen their right to clean and safe water in adequate quantities and to reasonable standards of sanitation as stipulated in Article 43 of Constitution of Kenya (2010). Many private firms have been showing interest in partnering with County governments to ease the widespread water shortages; however despite this, access to safe water (60% in urban areas (20% in low income settlements) and 40% in rural areas) and sanitation (55% in urban areas and less than 40% for the rural poor) has still been low.
One of the key challenges to improving access to water services is the very high Non-Revenue Water (NRW) of 63% and 45% for rural and urban water facilities respectively in 2012. It is estimated that Kshs. 10.4 billion annually is lost due to NRW. This scenario indicates that there are opportunities to improve sector performance by adopting more efficient technological and management solutions. On the other hand, the sector has identified a huge funding gap to realize Vision 2030 water sector objectives; Kenya requires over Kshs. 300 billions of investment in infrastructure and enhancing operational efficiencies in the medium term. Only a part of this budget is available with Government and development partners. The government, therefore, is interested to attract private sector funding and management expertise to fill this gap.
It is for this reason that the MEWNR in collaboration with the PPP Unit within the National Treasury and with the support Kenya Market Assistance Programme organised a one-day workshop on Wednesday 6th August 2014for the six WSPs and corresponding County Governments and other relevant institutions. During the meeting, Eng Kimanthi Kyengo, Deputy Director Water Services said “ We want to build PPP standards that can stand the test of time.”
The objective of this workshop was to launch the project together viable six WSPs.
The MEWNR is committed to facilitate the linkages across committed County Governments, WSPs and potential investors in implementing potential PPP deals in WASH sector. Committed County Governments and WSPs with viable small-scale PPP projects will receive transaction advisory services, through SNV – Kenya Market Assistance Programme.
 Vision 2030, Water Sector Medium Term Plan (2008-2012)