Busia Water Executive Dr Isaac Alukwe has sent a passionate plea to consumers to pay an accumulated Sh81.5million debts owed to Busia Water Sevices Company (Buwasco) in unpaid water bills.
Addressing the press at the Mundika Water Treatment Plant on Tuesday, Dr Alukwe said the scenario has led to the water company not able to meet its daily obligations.
The Mundika solar- tier grid serves a population of over 11,000 people within Busia Municipality and Matayos areas.
He explained that the solar tier-grid pilot plant at Mundika produces only 125KW of power energy of the 630KW required by the water treatment plant at both at the intake low lift and highlift to Busia and Matayos towns.
Thus, the difference from the 630KW is obtained from KPLC Mains for which must be paid for.
The CECM noted with regret that among the defaulters are Kenya Revenue Authority and Immigration Offices Busia which owe Buwasco Sh 7m, Police Department Busia Sh2.8m, County Assembly of Busia Sh2.5m, Department of Health and Sanitation Sh2m, Slaughter House Sh0.5m, County Commissioner Sh0.3m and other government institutions including Busia Prisons which amounts to Sh20m. Other consumers owe Sh61.5m.
Dr Alukwe said the Ministry of water is also contributing to the water company’s woes over failure to remit Sh26m, being part of Sh6.9b donated by the World Bank to support 76 water companies in Kenya through the Water Sector Trust Fund during the COVID 19 Pandemic, after the Ministry directed water companies not to disconnect consumers who default on water bills.
” The money if availed will help us fix a few things here and there,” he said, noting that Buwasco needs Sh51m it owes to suppliers and Sh 500m to revamp its dilapidated infrastructure across its service area. An overall Sh 744M is required to make BUWASSCO break-even, which is half (Sh327m) allocated to the department this financial year to support water service provision in the entire county and recurrent expenfiture” Dr Alukwe added.
” Buwasco was created from Kakamega-Busia Water company during the onset of devolution, the split which was done in a hurry, thus making it inherit a lot of debts and liabilities,” he noted.
To find a lasting solution to the piling debts accrued from unpaid water bills, Dr Alukwe said Buwasco board will meet next week to chart way forward on modalities to be used to recover its outstanding debts which might include blacklisting the defaulters.
He also cautioned consumers who rough up officers who go to their residence to enquire on non-payment, telling them that ” if angels were brought to manage the affairs of the company it will work but if they are human beings, they will face similar challenges if not facilitated.”
“As much as we are offering service, the department is operating under very limited resources. We continue to pay electricity bills yet we are unable to break-even due to the heavy resource requirements to provide the service,” Dr Alukwe emphasised.
The pilot plant of the Mundika hybrid system that cost Sh20m entailed installation of 400 pieces of 330 watts to produce 125kws out of 630kws, adding that Sh80m is needed to produce 630kws,thus making them operate optimally without electricity.