News / Africa

Private Company Brings Fresh Water to Kenya Community

Large trucks transport clean water from the Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya to customers (VOA/A. Khayesi)
Large trucks transport clean water from the Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya to customers (VOA/A. Khayesi)

The engine from the Nyamasaria Water Works is pumping muddy water from the Kibos River.  It will be purified and stored until delivery to over 30,000 customers in the peri-urban district of Kisumu East. The company produces an average of 80,000 liters of water per day.
 
Access to clean and safe drinking water has been a scarce commodity to most people in Kisumu, Kenya, despite its location next to the world’s second largest fresh water lake, Lake Victoria.
 
Most people in the city can not verify the cleanliness of the water they purchase from vendors peddling water from handcarts. They deliver water in 20 liter plastic containers at the doorstep of their customers.

Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya cleans water from the muddy Kibos River. (VOA/A. Khayesi)Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya cleans water from the muddy Kibos River. (VOA/A. Khayesi)
x
Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya cleans water from the muddy Kibos River. (VOA/A. Khayesi)
Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya cleans water from the muddy Kibos River. (VOA/A. Khayesi)
Water delivery is usually the responsibility of the government.  But Nyamasaria Water Works is the country’s first privately-owned water company, and is often cited by consumers for its efficiency and dependability.  Development experts say there could be more non-governmental water pumping and cleansing stations if it were easier for private companies to get grants and loans. 
 
Nyamasaria started in 2002 as a small scale irrigation project for farming tomatoes by Elly Onyando Odhong, a banker, and his brother Bernard, a professional clinical health officer.  Within six years, it was providing clean water to households.  But Bernard Odhong says the plant is now facing some challenges:
 
"We’re experiencing interference problems with our piping network, " he explained, "from the construction of roads, power outages, by real estate developers and lack of funds for expansion. While awaiting the completion of the highway road, the company has purchased power generators and it’s appealing to donors for financial support to expand the pipes to further places."
 
In the past, residents consumed water from shallow wells, boreholes, rainfall, streams or swamps.  But today, households can access water from nearby points.
                                              
At one time,  many people did not want to settle in the area because of the lack of a sufficient water supply.  But business woman Jemima Akinyi Nyakano said that’s changed.
 
"The number of newcomers renting homes has increased since the water scarcity problem has been solved," she explained. "We no longer doubt hygiene and the source of domestic water."

Households with piped water, retailers, handcarts and trucks are served from 80,000 litre storage tanks.   The water is sold at a rate that most people can afford.
 
Joseph Otieno, the plant manager,  explained that piped households pay an average of $ US 3.60 monthly, while retailers pay US 25 cents for a 20-litre conainer.  Water hawkers pay US 43 cents for full handcart loaded with a dozen containers while 10,000 liter trucks pay $US 9.15.                                                                  
 
Tanker driver Nicholas Lihalwa delivers water to estates, hospitals, factories and social functions such as funerals, weddings and public ceremonies.
 
"The delivery charges depend on the distance from the source of water and if the lorry stays up to the end of the function." he said.  "Some domestic and industrial consumers have storage tanks at their premises but those hosting wedding, funeral, graduation, sports or church cerebrations may connect pipes and use the water direct from the lorry.  Here we charge extra amount of money."
 
Odhiambo said the plant is licensed by the Kisumu City public health department, and given permission to extract the river water by the Water Resources Management Authority.  The filtered product is tested and approved for consumption by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
 
The company manages its financial operations from the earnings it makes mostly from charging customers for water. The proceeds are used to purchase chemicals for purifying water and to pay the salaries of its employees.

​Development experts say it’s a role model for other entrepreneurs throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
 
Odhiambo said the company works in line with the goals of the United Nations and the government of Kenya to improve access to clean water

"Access to clean water is a goal of the Kenya’s national development program, Vision 2030, and also United Nations Millennium Development Goal Number Seven,  which calls for cutting in half by 2015 the number of people without sustainable access to water and basic sanitation, " he explained.
                                                                    
Due to accessibility to clean drinking water, there has been a reduction in water borne diseases in and around Kisumu East. Odhiambo says clean and safe water has reduced bilharzia, fever, cholera, diarrhea, dysentery and typhoid. There have also been no reported cholera cases in the last five years in the area.

Listen to report on Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya (by Ajanga Khayesi)
Listen to report on Nyamasaria Water Works in Kisumu, Kenya (by Ajanga Khayesi)i
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs