Working in partnership with utilities

The WSUP team in Nairobi is continuing to support NCWSC in its non revenue water (NRW) reduction program to reduce water losses (both physical leaks and illegal connections) and to increase revenues in the target area.

Waiting for water: residents collecting water at a kiosk in Kambi Muru. Photo credit: Chipego Changula

Halcrow are providing technical expertise to the project team and a consultant recently visited the project site. He provided useful insights into how the NRW program can be improved and identified where capacity building and technical assistance efforts should be concentrated to ensure achievement of project goals.

Recent successes include:

  • The Informal Settlements Department (ISD) have received a program of training in the use of specialist leak detection equipment. NCWSC are using these skills to address NRW in other zones of the city improving the overall financial sustainability of the company
  • Interest from NCWSC to form a central leak detection unit to integrate NRW activities within normal business operations of the company
  • Rapid progress by leak detection teams in fixing and repairing visible and non-visible leaks in the project area
  • Recognition that assets such as ablution blocks, water kiosk operators and shared toilets will be vested with asset owner Athi Water Services Board and that sub-agency contracts will define the relationship between operators of these assets and NCWSC

Challenges include:

  • An agreement from NCWSC is needed to ensure priority use of supplied leak detection equipment for the project area, rather than being used in other areas of the city
  • Bulk meters are constantly getting blocked due to illegal connections being made to the pipe, which requires unblocking by hand
  • Complacency of NCWSC staff concerning meter reading as this directly effects revenue collection and monitoring impact of NRW work

This work is seeing an increase in cash contribution from the project areas to NCWSC as a result of increased revenue collection and reduced NRW. With a lower level of non-revenue water, the additional funds will help transform the utility into one that runs with efficiency, productivity, and financial sustainability.

About Andy Narracott

Urban water and sanitation professional. Programme Coordinator for the USAID African Cities for the Future Programme.
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2 Responses to Working in partnership with utilities

  1. Pingback: The Urban Challenge of Sustainability | African Cities for the Future

  2. Pingback: Access to Water | African Cities for the Future

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